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Petito lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s estate resolved

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(NewsNation) — A final judgment for $3 million has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito’s family against her boyfriend Brian Laundrie’s estate.

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Judge Hunter W. Carroll ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt, as the administrator of her daughter’s estate.

The lawyer for Schmidt, Pat Reilly, said in a statement that Brian Laundrie didn’t have $3 million — that’s an arbitrary number. But any money the Petito family does receive will go to the Gabby Petito Foundation, which supports organizations trying to locate missing people, as well as provide aid to organizations that help victims of domestic violence.

“Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt wish to turn their personal tragedy into a positive,” Reilly said. “It is their hope that Gabby’s foundation will bring these important issues into the forefront of the public.”

A trial originally scheduled for December 2022 will not happen.

Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie in a converted camper van. The trip was well-documented on social media until it abruptly ceased, allegedly somewhere in Wyoming. On Sept. 19, her body was found just outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

A Teton County coroner said Petito died by strangulation three to four weeks before her body was found.

Laundrie was at the center of a nationwide search after Petito vanished, a search that ended when his remains were found in October 2021, after more than a month of searching a 24,000-acre Florida nature reserve. A month later, authorities confirmed he’d died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Earlier this year, the FBI confirmed Laundrie claimed responsibility for Petito’s death through written statements discovered in a notebook that investigators found near Laundrie’s remains.

Another lawsuit, filed by Petito’s family against the Laundrie family, accusing them of knowing their son killed Petito and working to help him flee the country, is still underway.

If you or someone you know needs help, resources or someone to talk to, you can find it at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or by calling 1-800-273-8255. People are available to talk to 24×7.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

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