Gabby Petito’s family back in Florida after 4 months; parents reach agreement regarding couple’s property

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The family of Gabby Petito was in Florida on morning, roughly four months after their daughter was found strangled to death in Wyoming, Fox News Digital has learned, as an attorney representing her fiance’s loved ones says they have reached an agreement about how the couple’s property – including the notebook found with his remains – will be distributed.

Steven Bertolino, the attorney who represents Brian Laundrie’s parents in the case involving his disappearance and subsequent suicide, told Fox News Digital that he did not know what news might be coming out of Tampa, Florida, where the Petitos were that day. He added that he and the Petito family attorney, Rick Stafford, had “been working together to come to an agreement on the distribution of property to be released from law enforcement.”

He added that he and Stafford had compiled a written agreement “to detail how the property” would be distributed when the time comes and said the belongings included the notebook found with Laundrie when his remains were recovered.

Bertolino would not say which family would get the notebook. Stafford did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Thursday.

Meanwhile, North Port Police Department spokesperson Josh Taylor told Fox News on Thursday said he was “unaware” of any developments in the case that would have led to it being closed.

He added: “We knew they would be meeting after the first of the year. I would think we would be briefed if in fact something was  wrapping up.” 

The FBI told Fox News Digital Petito’s family did meet with investigators on Thursday for a briefing, but would not provide any additional information.

Brian Laundrie’s remains were found on Oct. 20, 2021, in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, located in the 23-year-old’s hometown of North Port. His parents made the grim discovery while hiking with law enforcement in the area, where they had told authorities their son was known to frequent.

Laundrie was considered a fugitive and was a person of interest in Gabby Petito’s disappearance and death.The FBI had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges related to his unauthorized use of a bank card.

Laundrie and 22-year-old Petito left for a trip in mid-June with the plan to visit national parks in her white converted Ford Transit. The couple had met years earlier on Long Island, New York, where they grew up and later moved into the North Port home with Brian’s parents.

During their travels through Utah, Moab Police received a report of a domestic violence incident involving the couple. A witness told 911 he saw a man, later found to be Brian Laundrie, hitting and “slapping” the woman, Petito, on August 12.

The call appears to contradict a police report in which an officer states “no one reported that the male struck the female.”

One of the officers on the scene wrote that the incident could be “more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault.”

An outside investigation found “unintentional mistakes,” and recommended the officers involved in the case be placed on probation, according to a report released Jan. 12.

Laundrie arrived back in North Port on Sept. 1 — with the van, but without Petito.

Parents Chris and Roberta Laundrie said Brian, 23, left his family’s North Port, Florida, home on Sept. 13 to hike in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, located alongside the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve. The Laundries’ attorney had initially identified the date of Brian’s disappearance as being Sept. 14 before changing the timeline weeks later.

After his disappearance, state, local, county and federal law enforcement extensively searched the reserve and the Myakkahatchee, where Laundrie was said to have parked his car at the time.

His family did not announce until Sept. 17 – four days after he allegedly left – that he had not returned.

Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported her missing to Suffolk County Police in New York on Sept. 11. Search teams discovered Petito’s body near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19 and announced shortly thereafter that she had been the victim of a homicide.

Authorities later said she died of “manual strangulation.”

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