The attorney representing Gabby Petito’s family sent a cease and desist letter to Steven Berolino, the lawyer representing Petito’s boyfriend and his parents, demanding that he refrain from using photographs of the murdered 22-year-old “in an effort to gain business.”
Richard Stafford, representing Petito’s mother and father Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt and their respective spouses, was particularly incensed by a photograph on an unclaimed Yelp page for Bertolino who represents Brian Laundrie and his parents.
“The Petito and Schmidt family are demanding that you remove Gabby Petito’s picture from your Yelp page,” Stafford wrote in the letter to Bertolino, according to Insider. “The family tried to remove their daughter’s picture from your page and were informed that only the business owner can add or remove pictures.”
A Yelp representative told Insider the image was uploaded by a Yelp user and removed minutes after Stafford’s letter reached Bertolino by the same user.
Stafford added in his letter that Bertolino “cease and desist posting pictures of Gabby Petito to any and all of your social media pages, web pages or advertisements.” He threatened “further action on behalf of Gabby’s family” if the photo wasn’t removed by 2 p.m.
When Insider asked for a comment from Bertolino, he responded that the accusations were “sad.”
On Wednesday evening, the Yelp page had two photos of Brian Laundrie on it, and Yelp had disabled comments on the page, citing “increased public attention, which often means people come to this page to post their views on the news” rather than “a first-hand experience with the business.” Yelp said commenting would be restored at a later date.
Before Yelp halted commenting on the page, several users left 1-star reviews accusing Bertolino of helping Brian Laundrie hide from law enforcement.
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