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In a lawsuit filed in March, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt alleged that Christopher and Roberta Laundrie knew their son had killed Petito and that they ‘acted with malice or great indifference’ in not disclosing the whereabouts of his remains. .

In their court papers, Petito’s parents also said Laundrie’s parents “engaged in extreme and disgraceful conduct” and sought “just compensation for the damages they suffered, as well as costs and other repairs”.

Petito, whose disappearance last summer gripped the nation, was found dead in Wyoming after embarking on a cross-country trip with Laundrie, who was her fiancé. A coroner ruled she died of strangulation. After returning to their Florida home alone and then leaving again, Laundrie was found dead weeks later. A medical examiner ruled that he had committed suicide.

Circuit Court Judge Hunter Carroll’s announcement on Wednesday came after hearing arguments from attorneys for both sides.

A lawyer for the Laundries argued Wednesday that “everyone has the right to their private enclave.”

“They don’t have to come in and affirmatively state everything they know about everything,” attorney Matthew Luka told the court. “That’s just not how our society works. That’s not how the constitution works. People are protected until they’re not.”

In response, the Petito family attorney said the lawsuit was not about forcing the defendants to say anything.

“That’s not what we do,” said the Petito family attorney. “We seek damages for their conduct.”

Petito’s parents sat next to their attorney during the hearing and at times Petito’s mother was seen crying.

Separately, Schmidt filed a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation for her daughter’s “wrongful death” and requesting a jury trial.

“As a direct and immediate result of the tortious conduct of Brian Laundrie, Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito incurred funeral and burial expenses, and they suffered loss of care and comfort, and suffered loss of probable future companionship , company and comfort,” this suit says.

No trial date has been set in this case.


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