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Lifetime to Give Gabby Petito Murder Their Film Treatment
Lifetime is already developing a television movie based on Gabby Petito's life and tragic death. The network hired former The Walking Dead star Thora Birch to play Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt. She will also direct the film, which is part of Lifetime's Stop Violence Against Women public [...]

Lifetime is already developing a television movie based on Gabby Petito’s life and tragic death. The network hired former The Walking Dead star Thora Birch to play Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt. She will also direct the film, which is part of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women public affairs campaign.

The Gabby Petito Story (working title) will focus on Petito’s relationship with her fiance Brian Laundrie and how Petito may have died. Production will start this summer in Utah, and Lifetime hopes to have the movie ready to air later this year, reports Deadline. Lifetime has not announced who will play Petito or Laundrie yet.

Lifetime plans to air a PSA during the movie to highlight resources for women. The movie will be produced by Hybrid, with a script by Gregory Small and Richard Blaney (Gone Mom, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret). This is Birch’s latest project for Lifetime, following her Emmy-nominated performance in Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story (2003). She also starred in The Pregnancy Pact (2010) and played Gamma in The Walking Dead Season 10.

Petito went missing in late August, over a month after she and Laundrie began a van life journey across the U.S. Petito’s remains were discovered at a Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, and an autopsy determined she was strangled. Laundrie was named as the suspect, but he could not be found. His remains were later discovered at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida on Oct. 20. In November, an anthropologist ruled that Laundie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In January, the FBI said Laundrie admitted to killing Petito in his notebook and deceived people into thinking she was still alive using text messages.

There are still unanswered questions about Petito’s death. Earlier this week, her family amended their civil lawsuit against Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta Laundrie to accuse them of knowing where Petito’s remains were while authorities were on a massive manhunt, reports PEOPLE. Joseph Petito and Schmidt are seeking $30,000 in damages for mental anguish caused by the Laundries’ alleged deceit. In a March filing, Petito’s parents accused the Laundries of helping their son conceal Petitot’s murder and plan to leave the U.S.

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Schmidt and Joseph accused Christopher and Roberta of going on a vacation with their son while they pleaded for help in finding Petito. They accused Roberta of blocking her phone number and Facebook profile in September. If the allegations are true, they would contradict Roberta and Christopher’s claims they were clueless about Petito’s whereabouts during the search that captured the country’s attention last fall.

“Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct which constitutes behavior, under the circumstances, which goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” Petito’s parents claimed in the lawsuit. The document later reads, “For the Laundries to express their ‘hope’ that Gabrielle Petito was located and reunited with her family, at a time when they knew she had been murdered by their son, was beyond outrageous.”

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