Brian Laundrie’s mother says ‘burn after reading’ letter not connected to Gabby Petito murder
Brian Laundrie’s mother has claimed that a “burn after reading” letter that Gabby Petito’s parents are seeking to obtain through a Florida lawsuit is not connected to the vlogger’s murder.
Petito’s parents have alleged in court filings that Roberta Laundrie offered to help her son “bury a body” in a letter that the FBI recovered during its investigation into the high profile 2021 case.
Ms Laundrie spoke about “helping him get out of prison, getting a shovel and some other things”, according to attorney Patrick Reilly, who is representing Petito’s parents.
In a new court filing in the Sarasota court on Monday, Ms Laundrie denied any foreknowledge of Petito’s death.
“While I used words that seem to have a connection with Brian’s actions and his taking of Gabby’s life, I never would have fathomed the events that unfolded months later between Brian and Gabby would reflect the words in my letter,” she wrote in an affidavit obtained by Fox News.
Ms Laundrie has maintained that the letter was written before her son and his fiancé embarked on their cross country journey in July 2021.
The Laundries are trying to prevent the court from releasing a copy of the letter to the Petito family.
The Petito family’s lawyer Pat Reilly said he has seen the letter, but does not have a copy. He told Fox News that he believes the letter was written after the couple had departed.
In her affidavit, Ms Laundrie said she had written the letter during a difficult period in her relationship with her son. She said the “burn after reading” note was inspired by a book that Petito had given to Laundrie that instructs the “reader to create a secret book and then destroy” it.
“My words to Brian were meant to convey my love and support for my son through a light-hearted and quirky reminder,” she wrote.
Ms Laundrie denied that the letter was discovered in backpack found next to Laundrie’s body after he killed himself in a Florida swamp. She said the letter was already in the FBI’s possession before her son’s body was found.
The Petito case attracted international attention after Laundrie returned to his parent’s home without Petito in early September 2021.
Petito’s parents reported her missing on 11 September 2021 after they couldn’t get in contact with her and Laundrie was refusing to say where she was.
Laundrie then went on the run days later, with his family telling police he was heading into the nature reserve close to their home.
On 19 September 2021, Petito’s remains were found in a Wyoming national park with her autopsy confirming that she had been strangled to death.
Weeks later on 20 October 2021, Laundrie’s remains were found inside the Florida reserve. He died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Petito’s parents are suing Ms Laundrie and her husband Chris, along with their lawyer Steve Bertolino, for emotional distress in the civil lawsuit.
They claim that the Laundries ignored their calls and texts while they were frantically searching for their daughter.
Instead, they claim that the Laundries knew he had killed Petito and took him on a final camping trip as a family – while refusing to put the Petito family out of their agony by revealing what they knew.
Now, their attorneys are calling for Ms Laundrie to face deposition over the letter she sent to her son about burying a body.
The Laundries have responded to the lawsuit by saying that they had no duty to speak to the Petito family.