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'Gabby's gone': Father describes 'frantic' Brian Laundrie phone call

A deposition of Christopher Laundrie, Brian’s father, was taken in Oct. 2023 and filed this week in court.
'Gabby's gone': Father describes 'frantic' Brian Laundrie phone call
Posted at 7:51 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 21:51:44-05

Brian Laundrie's father detailed a chilling phone call with his son in late Aug. 2021 where he begged for help and was "frantic." Christopher Laundrie, Brian's father, made the statements while sitting for a deposition in a civil lawsuit brought by Gabby Petito's parents.

SEE MORE: LA Innocence Project is investigating Scott Peterson murder case

Brian is alleged to have murdered his fiancée, Gabby Petito, whose remains were found in Wyoming nearly one month after she disappeared. 

Brian took his own life before he could face charges in the case. The lawsuit — filed against Brian's parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, as well as the attorney who represented both Brian and his parents, Steven Bertolino — accuses the three of attempting to cover up Gabby’s murder in the period after she disappeared and before her body was found.

The deposition of Christopher Laundrie, Brian's father, was filed this week in court after being taken in Oct. 2023. Christopher had difficulty offering specific timelines and dates during the deposition, even denying knowledge of his daughter's and grandchildren's last names. 

At one point, Patrick Reilly, the attorney representing the Petitos, asked Christopher, "Do you have an issue with your memory?" 

Christopher responded, "Apparently so, yeah, yeah."

Christopher described Brian as respectful and honest, saying, "He was ambitious. He was outgoing. He was — he was a great guy." Describing Gabby, Christopher said, "She was very nice. She walked in the door and we spoke, and fine impression." 

He said that he and Roberta loved her and welcomed her joining the family. He denied any knowledge of Brian having anger issues or problems with any previous girlfriends.

Brian and Gabby had gone on a road trip out West, and there had been an incident in Moab, Utah, where both had accused the other of domestic violence. Christopher denied any knowledge of the incident, which occurred on Aug. 12, 2021 — two weeks before the murder allegedly took place. 

After the incident, Brian returned home without Gabby.

A transcript of the exchange continued with Christopher saying, "I don’t know why he came alone. I thought he just wanted to come and see us and say hello."

The attorney said, "Did you ask him why Gabby didn't come home with him?"

Christopher said, "It sounded as if she wanted time to make her website, so that was the only reason, the only reason that he said. She couldn't do it while she was there. I don’t know."

Brian left again to meet up with Gabby and told his parents that the couple planned to go to Oregon and work at a pumpkin farm. 

Christopher recalled a phone call on Aug. 27 confirming their plans, but Gabby wasn't mentioned. In their lawsuit, the Petito family has alleged that Gabby's murder took place on Aug. 27.

That's when Christopher described things as "hitting the fan" and said he felt he should call Brian.

Christopher said, "I asked him, you know, how is he doing, and he — you know, he was not calm and he got very excited and told me things had — you know, 'Gabby's gone' and he got very frantic. Everything was frantic and quick. So, you know, Gabby’s gone."

An attorney responded, "Meaning what?"

Christopher said, "Well, I have no idea what he meant."

An attorney asked, "Well, what else did he say?"

Christopher responded, "well, it was quick. He said, you know — and he was very panicked and he said he didn't know what to do. He said, you know, 'Can you help me,' you know and he might need a lawyer, you know. And I would — I asked him why he wouldn't tell me. He was very frantic. Everything was frantic and I just started to not really comprehend, and then he said just, you know, 'Can you help me?' And I said, 'Okay. I'll help you.' And I calmed him down and I said — I don't know. It was — it was all mumbled and I still don't remember everything that happened, but you know, he said he needed help and to get an attorney. And I told him, 'Yeah, I'll help you. I'll call Steven Bertolino, and just stay put.' And then I asked him again, and he just said, 'Just help me.'"

Christopher said at no time did Brian say he killed Gabby, and denied believing that Gabby was dead after the conversation.

An attorney asked, "Well, your son's frantic, he wants you to call a lawyer, and 'Gabby's gone.' Did you believe at the time that he'd murdered her?"

"No," he said. 

"Did you believe that she was dead at that time?" an attorney asked.

"Not at all," was the reply. 

Then the attorney asked, "Where did you think — what did you think 'gone' meant?"

Christopher replied, "I didn't even know what to think at the moment, you know, at all, so that’s that."

The Laundrie family gave Steven Bertolino a check for $25,000 and gave him the information. Christopher said that Bertolino advised them to not talk to anyone, but admitted that it never occurred to him to call Gabby's parents when it became clear she had disappeared.  

"I didn't, no, because I had no reason to — at that moment to think anything was — was going on. Gabby took off and did things that I — you know, she — on her own free will, so I had no idea what — where she was," he said.

Brian returned home briefly on Sept. 1, but Christopher said that he never asked him what happened to Gabby. He said that at Bertolino's advice, he did not bring up the discussion. 

He described Brian as "confused" when he returned, but said the family did "normal things," which included camping and taking hikes.

The Petito family's lawsuit seeks more than $30,000 from the three and is scheduled to begin in May.

This story was originally written by Lauren Silver at Court TV


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