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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — A Bradenton woman claims Brian Laundrie’s father owes her at least $40 after he took down a sign that she helped put up outside the Laundrie family’s North Port home, according to a complaint.
The complaint was filed on Monday in the small claims division of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota County. It lists Andra Griffin of Bradenton as the plaintiff. Christopher Laundrie is listed as the defendant.
According to the lawsuit obtained by WFLA, Griffin “contributed funds” and helped construct a sign as part of a “peaceful protest” in response to the ongoing Gabby Petito investigation and search for Brian Laundrie. The sign read, “What if it was Cassie,” in reference to Brian Laundrie’s sister, the complaint says.
The sign was put up “near the home of Christopher Laundrie” in North Port, according to the court documents. Several signs and other objects have been placed outside the Laundrie family’s home as the Petito investigation has continued.
The lawsuit claims that Laundrie came out of his home the morning of Saturday, Oct. 16, “walked up to the sign, stole it and walked back onto his property.”
In the suit, Griffin asks the court to order Laundrie to reimburse her $40, “plus court fees, any other costs and for such other and further relief deemed just and proper.”
A pretrial conference is scheduled to take place via Zoom on Wednesday, Dec. 1, according to a summons filed by the clerk of the circuit court on Monday morning. The notice to appear was sent to both Laundrie and Griffin.
This week marks one month since Gabby Petito’s body was found in Wyoming. The 22-year-old was reported missing on Sept. 11. Her remains were found Sept. 19. Her death has since been ruled a homicide by manual strangulation, according to a coroner’s findings.
Petito was reported missing after police say her fiancé Brian Laundrie returned home to North Port without her on Sept. 1. The couple had been on a months-long cross-country road trip together since July.
Early in the investigation into Petito’s disappearance, Laundrie and his family released a statement via their attorney, stating that they would be “remaining in the background” and not commenting. In a response statement, Petito’s family criticized the Laundries for not helping.
Laundrie himself was reported missing by his parents on Sept. 17, two days after he was named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance. When Laundrie’s parents reported him missing, they told police they had last seen him leave home to go to the Carlton Reserve area for a hike on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The family’s attorney, Steve Bertolino, later said that, after further communication with the FBI, the Laundries believed their son left home to go hiking on Sept. 13.
The search for Laundrie has been ongoing for more than a month now and has been centered around the Carlton Reserve. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie last month for “use of unauthorized access devices” – a Capital One Bank debit card and a personal ID number for two Capital One Bank accounts – following Petito’s death.
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