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HIDDEN CLUES

Seven critical mysteries in Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie case that could be answered as parents square off in court

SEVEN critical mysteries in the case of Gabby Petito could be answered as her parents square off against the Laundries in court.

Petito’s parents, Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, filed a lawsuit in March against Brian Laundrie's parents, Chris and Roberta.

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Several mysteries remain surrounding the deaths of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie (pictured)Credit: Instagram
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Petito's parents, Nichole Schmidt and Joe Petito, filed a lawsuit against the LaundriesCredit: 60 Minutes Australia
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The lawsuit claims that Laundrie told his parents that he murdered Petito on or about August 28, 2021Credit: Splash News
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Brian Laundrie's parents initially gave police the wrong date of their son's disappearanceCredit: Splash News

Now, Judge Hunter W. Carroll will hear from both sets of parents in court on Wednesday for the first time since both Petito and Laundrie died last fall.

The first hearing is set for Wednesday and will determine whether or not the case will proceed to a jury trial in 2023.

The pre-trial hearing is set for Wednesday afternoon at Sarasota County Circuit Court in Venice, Florida.

But there are still several mysteries surrounding the disappearance and death of Petito, as well as that of Laundrie.

WHAT BRIAN LAUNDRIE TOLD HIS PARENTS

Brian Laundrie's parents initially gave the police the wrong date of their son's disappearance.

The family's attorney revealed that the Laundries provided investigators with the incorrect date for his alleged disappearance into the Carlton Reserve in September.

Laundrie "left to hike in the preserve" on Monday, September 13, not Tuesday, September 14 as originally shared, their lawyer revealed, resulting in a barrage of Reddit speculation.

Steven Bertolino wrote in a text response to anchor Josh Benson from WFLA in Florida, "The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events.”

It is also unknown why the Laundries “didn’t return" Gabby's mom's texts as she desperately wanted to find her daughter.

Nichole Schmidt says she tried to communicate with Chris and Roberta Laundrie after she lost contact with Gabby in late August.

Gabby Petito last spoke to her family on August 25 as she and her fiancé reached Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

During an interview with Dr. Phil, Nichole claimed Brian’s parents ignored the calls and texts, leaving her “infuriated."

It’s not known if the Laundries’ deliberately ignored the texts and calls.

'EVIDENCE' FROM GABBY PETITO'S PARENTS

The lawsuit claims that Laundrie told his parents that he murdered Petito on or about August 28, 2021.

“It is believed, and therefore averred that… Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito,” the lawsuit states, per WFLA.

“On that same date, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie spoke with Attorney Steve Bertolino, and sent him a retainer on Sept. 2, 2021.”

The lawsuit does not include the alleged evidence Petito's parents claim to have.

BRIAN LAUNDRIE'S NOTEBOOK

The journal used by Laundrie was discovered near his body at the Carlton Reserve on October 20, 2021.

"When the evidence containing Brian's phone, gun, and notebook were found, it seemed inevitable we would finally have answers in this case," forensics expert Jennifer Shen, retired San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory Director, exclusively told The Sun.

"The notebook was an incredible recovery, and did, in fact, give investigators the conclusive information they needed to close this case."

According to family attorney Steven Bertolino, once the FBI closes the case on Gabby's murder and Brian's death by suicide, "retained property will be returned to its owner."

The FBI has not revealed whether it will return the notebooks to the Laundrie family or the other items found with his body last year.

It has also not said if they have found further information about Laundrie's final weeks or Gabby's death in the notebooks.

But a friend of Brian's told The Sun exclusively that the notebook could contain clues to solve Gabby's death.

It’s not known what’s inside the notebook or if it contains anything at all.

LAUNDRIE'S MISSED REMAINS

Laundrie's remains and other personal items, including the notebook, were found in Florida's Carlton Reserve on October 20, a month after Petito was found strangled to death at a Wyoming campsite.

Laundrie died by suicide, but the date of death still remains unknown.

Just minutes after Roberta and Chris Laundrie walked into the Carlton Reserve in late October, they found their son's remains and belongings - after cops had searched that area for 33 days unsuccessfully.

Chris and Roberta were seen moving in and out of areas of the brush, before separating for roughly 12 minutes when Chris led two men into the brush on the left side of a trail.

Officials were then pictured with a bag showing what looked like a notebook among Laundrie's stuff.

Medical examiners confirmed on November 23, 2021, that Laundrie's cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.

THE MOTIVE BEHIND PETITO'S DEATH

The couple had last been seen together in a restaurant in Wyoming where staff said there had been an argument about them paying the bill.

That incident came only days after they were stopped by cops in Moab, Utah, after a witness said that Laundrie hit Petito in the street on August 12.

In bodycam footage, Laundrie is heard saying that he would not have money to stay in a motel for the night as cops asked the couple to separate.

Petito was then reported missing days later.

Her remains were found on September 19 and it was revealed that she was strangled.

But for both the exact circumstances, as well as possible motives, surrounding their deaths remain unclear.

LAUNDRIE'S PARENTS REMAINED SILENT

Chris and Roberta Laundrie remained silent throughout the investigation.

They were never charged by authorities as the FBI continued to investigate Petito's death.

North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told WFLA last October that there was a “lack of cooperation from the [Laundrie] family early on."

Bertolino, however, maintains that Chris and Roberta have been cooperative throughout.

He also claims that their right to remain silent is protected by the US Constitution, saying, "the Laundries have not publicly commented at my direction, which is their right under the law."

“Assuming everything the Petitos allege in their lawsuit is true, which we deny, this lawsuit does not change the fact that the Laundries had no obligation to speak to law enforcement or any third-party, including the Petito family," Bertolino said in March 2022.

"This fundamental legal principle renders the Petitos’ claims to be baseless under the law.”

WHO WILL TESTIFY IF THE CASE PROCEEDS

Last month, an initial witness list was revealed.

If the case proceeds to a trial, Petito's parents and Laundrie's parents are all on the shortlist to testify.

Representatives from the North Port Police Department and the FBI are also on the so-called "wish list" of people who may be called upon to testify.

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