Roberta Laundrie letter to son, Brian deemed admissible as evidence in emotional distress civil lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito parents against Laundrie parents as ‘burn after reading’ note and uncanny references allude to the parents knowing of Gabby’s murder.
A letter, Brian Laundrie’s mother wrote to her son which was deemed admissible evidence in a civil suit against the Laundrie parents details Roberta Laundrie promising her son a shovel and garbage bags to get rid of a body.
‘If you’re in jail I will bake a cake and put a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body. I will show up with a shovel and garbage bags,’ Roberta Laundrie wrote in a ‘burn after reading’ note to her son Brian, 23, who confessed to killing his girlfriend Gabby Petito before taking his own life in 2021.
‘I just want you to remember I will always love you and I know you will always love me. You are my boy. Nothing can make me stop loving you, nothing can or ever will divide us no matter what we do, or where we go, or what we say – we will always love each other,’ she wrote in the note.
Was letter written before or after Gabby Petito murder?
‘If you fly to the moon, I will be watching the skies for your re-entry,” she continued. “If you say you hate my guts, I’ll get new guts. Remember that love is a verb, not a noun. It’s not a thing it’s not words. It is actions. Watch people’s actions to know if they love you – not their words.’
The parent then quotes from the Bible with a verse from Romans 8:38.
The letter was made public after Florida Judge Danielle Brewer ruled Wednesday that it was admissible as evidence in the emotional distress lawsuit brought against the Laundries by the parents of Gabby, Nichole Petito, and Joe Schmidt.
Roberta Laundrie told Fox News that the letter was penned before her 23-year-old son and Gabby, 22, ever having left for their doomed cross-country road trip in June 2021, months before her slain body was found in September.
In a previously filed affidavit, Roberta Laundrie claimed she wrote the letter ‘to reach out to Brian while he and I were experiencing a difficult period in our relationship.’
She said the ‘burn after reading’ label was a reference to a book Gabby had given him titled ‘Burn After Writing’ which encouraged the owner to write self-expressive letters to themselves and then burn them afterward.
Explaining away references made to shovels, burying bodies, and baking files into cakes to be sent to her son in prison, Roberta Laundrie wrote that her letter contained references to Brian’s favorite childhood books (“Little Bear,” and “The Runaway Bunny”) and phrases that ‘were common enough in our circle of friends and family to describe who you could turn to in the most troubling times of your life.’
The Laundries’ attorney, Matthew Lukda, argued during Wednesday’s hearing that it was happenstance that the letter appears to contain references to murder and prison time — saying his client’s ‘choice of words in hindsight are unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean the letter is relevant.’
But Schmidt and Nichole Petito’s attorney Pat Reilly held the bear and bunny books up in the courtroom on Wednesday and said after combing through them he’d found no references to bodies or shovels.
Pat Reilly argued that the letter was written after Gabby’s murder and constituted proof that the Laundrie parents knew about Gabby’s murder as alleged in the civil suit.
A judge ruled to allow the “burn after reading” letter written by Roberta Laundrie to her son Brian Laundrie after Gabby Petito’s death into evidence. The lawyers for Petito’s parents joins @TVAshleigh to discuss the development.
More: https://t.co/sP5yGlIOHp #Banfield pic.twitter.com/Ymm5CgUtZ5
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) May 25, 2023
Judge rules to allow letter as admissible evidence against Laundrie parents
While noting that the letter itself did not cause distress to Gabby’s parents, Reilly maintained the note could serve as proof that they knew about her death when they released a September 2021 statement that suggested hope that Gabby might be alive.
Read a statement Roberta Laundrie released to the court: ‘The letter to Brian was written prior to Gabby and Brian leaving my home for their trip. Previously, I submitted an affidavit to the court for very limited purposes but that is not the whole story. Now that the letter has been shared, I ask that you read it in its entirety, and understand that the letter contains other phrases besides those highlighted by Pat Reilly for sensationalism and to bolster his case.
‘I truly loved my son, and simply wanted to convey to him how much he meant to me and how much I loved him. I am sure people use phrases all the time to express to their loved ones the depths of their love. Although I chose words that I thought would be impactful with Brian given our relationship, the letter was in no way related to Gabby. Please read the entire letter before you believe the hype put out by Pat Reilly.’
Judge Brewer finally ruled in favor of Schmidt and Nichole Petito to allow the letter to be admissible. At the end of the hearing, Lukda handed over a number of copies to the prosecution.
Today the Judge has DENIED the protective order for “burn after reading” letter that was written Roberta Laundrie and given to her son Brian Laundrie, it will be part of discovery and it will be used against Roberta, slowly getting closer to #JusticeforGabby #GabbyPetito pic.twitter.com/3ZQTWJ9VPF
— ☀️🌸ChrisTheDailyVloger🌸☀️ (@ChrisTheDaiy) May 24, 2023
Laundrie parents accused of causing emotional distress
Nichole Petito and Schmidt allege in the suit the Laudries knew their son had murdered Gabby, but rather than disclosing their knowledge they released a statement expressing their ‘hope’ Gabby would be ‘re-united’ with them.
That statement was released through Laundrie’s lawyer — Steven Bertolino, also named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit — on Sept. 14, 2021.
Five days later, Gabby’s strangled body was found in Wyoming.
Brian’s skeletal remains were discovered on Oct. 20, 2021, at a Florida reserve park.
A medical examiner determined that he shot himself on the left side of the head and animals then partially ravaged his body.
Brian was found to have left behind a lengthy note about Gabby that stated in part: ‘I ended her life.’
‘I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted,’ he went on, ‘but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock.’
Petito’s parents claimed that if the Laundries and Bertolino knew she was dead by their son’s hand when they released that statement, it constituted an intentional infliction of emotional distress.
They filed a civil lawsuit on those grounds last year.
Lukda also said in the Wednesday hearing that the undated letter was written before Gabby and Brian ever left for their fateful western road trip in June 2021 and asked that it be kept private so that its contents not be misconstrued as incriminating.
Lukda had argued that the letter itself had not caused any emotional distress to Petito and Schmidt and that therefore it should not be admissible in a trial.