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Gabby Petito case: Brian Laundrie's mother promised son shovel, garbage bag, jailhouse cake in love letter

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1]

By Michael Ruiz and Adam Sabes

Published  May 25, 2023 6:11am EDT

Related coverage: Petito family wins small victory in ongoing civil case

The legal dispute between the families of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie was back to court Wednesday in Sarasota. At the center of the civil case is whether Laundrie's family secretly knew Petito was dead while posturing publicly as though she could still be alive.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Brian Laundrie's mother Roberta has broken her silence to Fox News Digital after her highly-anticipated "burn after reading" letter has revealed she promised her late son a shovel and garbage bags.

The Florida woman, through her attorney, claims the missive was penned before her son embarked on a June 2021 cross-country trip with his 22-year-old fiancée Gabby Petito, who was found dead September 19, 2021, near Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

Her 23-year-old beau then returned to his mother's house in North Port, Florida and was declared a "person of interest" before his remains were found on October 21, 2021, in a nearby reserve.

"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. 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," she said. "If you fly to the moon, I will be watching the skies for your re-entry. 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."

Roberta Laundrie then appears to quote Romans 8:38 from the Bible to end the letter.

"Therefore I am certain that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor the ruling spirits, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers from above, nor powers from below, nothing in the entire created world can separate our love. Neither hostile powers nor messengers or heaven nor monarchs of earth. Nothing has the power to separate us.' - Romans 8:38 (extended version!)"

PREVIOUS: 'Burn after reading': Gabby Petito's parents say letter from Brian Laundrie's mom offered to help bury body

See the full letter obtained by FOX News Digital: 

The letter was made public after a hearing in the civil lawsuit brought by Petito's parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, against Chris and Roberta Laundrie and their attorney Steve Bertolino.

Through an attorney, Roberta Laundrie told Fox News Digital that she "truly loved" her son.

"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," Laundrie said. "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. "

PREVIOUS: Brian Laundrie's parents will face jury for allegedly knowing about Gabby Petito's death during search

The Laundries have maintained that the letter was written before their son left with Petito on a cross-country road trip in 2021 and wanted it withheld entirely from the case. Both sides told the court that they opposed a deal that would hand the letter over to Petito's parents but withhold it from the public.

But Pat Reilly, the attorney for her parents, argues that it was written after her murder and is proof that the parents knew about it as alleged in the civil suit.

After months of disputes over the letter, Judge Danielle Brewer scheduled the hearing for Wednesday afternoon. The judge also considered motions from the defense to dismiss the case but said her decision on those would come at a later date.

"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," Roberta Laundrie wrote in an affidavit filed in a Sarasota court in March.

Previous: Judge denies Laundrie parents' motion to limit testimony in Gabby Petito case

Chris and Roberta Laundrie wanted to avoid the "emotional distress and embarrassment" of testifying in a civil trial, where they would face the parents of the young woman their son is believed to have killed.

RELATED: Brian Laundrie's parents file motion to avoid adding family attorney as co-defendant to Gabby Petito lawsuit

She sought to explain the context of the letter, saying it was inspired by children's books "The Runaway Bunny" and "Little Bear" and a writing exercise book she said Petito gave her son called "Burn After Writing."

"Brian, Gabby and I often joked about this book and the importance of being able to express yourself," she wrote of the latter.

Embarrassing ideas could be burned away, she argued.

"In some way, I did not want anyone else to read it as I know it is not the type of letter a mother writes to her adult son and I did not want to embarrass Brian," she wrote. "That is why I wrote 'Burn After Reading' on the envelope, and I knew that Brian would know what that meant. I am now appreciative that he actually kept it."

MORE: Brian Laundrie's notebook confession revealed, 'I ended her life'

The lawsuit alleges that Laundrie, his parents and their lawyer knew Petito was dead at the time of a Sept. 14 statement Laundrie attorney Steve Bertolino released to the media, which reads, in part, "On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family."

Previous: Gabby Petito family files lawsuit against Moab police

Attorneys for Gabby Petito's family make explosive new claims in a lawsuit against Moab, Utah Police Department. The suit, officially filed Thursday, said one of the officers who responded to a reported fight between the Petito and Brian Laundrie was 'unfit and unsafe' to be a police officer.

Her remains would be discovered on Sept. 19 at a campsite near Jackson, Wyoming. where she was last seen alive. Brian Laundrie allegedly killed her around Aug. 28.

He was found on Oct. 20 - dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and severely decomposed after spending weeks undiscovered in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park near his parents' home, according to the FBI.

In a handwritten confession found near his remains, first published by Fox News Digital, Brian Laundrie declared, "I ended her life."

"I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made," he wrote. "I panicked. I was in shock."

Read more at FOXNews.com.

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