Read the letter found in Brian Laundrie’s backpack from his mom marked ‘burn after reading’
By Lauren del Valle and Jean Casarez, CNN
(CNN) — The mother of Brian Laundrie, the man who killed his fiancée, Gabby Petito, and later himself in 2021, wrote to her son saying she would help him “dispose of a body” or “bake a cake with a file in it” to help him in jail, according to a copy of the undated letter obtained by CNN.
“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 will or could ever divide us. No matter what we do, or where we go or what we say- we will always Love each other,” Roberta Laundrie wrote in the letter.
“If you’re in jail I will bake a cake with a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body I will bring show up with a shovel and garbage bags,” it says, with an apparent cross out over the word bring. “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.”
Roberta Laundrie has said the letter was written before her son’s trip with Petito, and one of her attorneys released a statement saying it was “in no way related to Gabby,” although Petito’s family has challenged those assertions.
The envelope containing the letter said “burn after reading” and was recovered from Brian Laundrie’s backpack when his remains were found in October 2021.
The letter also quotes from Romans in the Bible. “Nothing can separate us; not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not threats, not even sin, not the thinkable or unthinkable can get between us,” it reads.
The full language of the letter was revealed nearly two years after the young couple set off on a cross-country trip, closely documented on social media, that ended in tragedy. Brian Laundrie came home from the trip without Petito and disappeared several weeks later.
Petito’s remains were found at Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest in September 2021 and her death was ruled a homicide by manual strangulation. Before taking his own life, Brian Laundrie wrote in a notebook he was responsible for her death, according to the FBI.
The letter was the subject of a hearing Wednesday in which Petito’s parents argued it had relevance to their lawsuit brought against Brian’s parents and former attorney for emotional distress.
The Petito family argues that Laundrie’s parents and their attorney knew that Petito had been murdered and knew the location of her body when they issued a statement on September 14, 2021, about the search for Petito. That statement at the crux of the case said, in part, “it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful, and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.”
The judge has not yet ruled on the admissibility of Roberta Laundrie’s letter. After a lengthy back-and-forth in court, both parties agreed that a confidentiality order was not necessary to keep the letter under seal once Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Danielle Brewer determined the letter could be relevant to the case and the plaintiff lawyers should at least get a copy.
In court, Petito family attorney Patrick Reilly argued the letter was important in their lawsuit against the Laundrie family.
“As we all know, the letter references burying a body, bringing a shovel and burying a body,” he said. “Those are criminal acts, by the way, that Roberta Laundrie has said she would commit.”
The Laundries have argued in court filings they had no duty to the Petito family.
Mother says letter not related to Petito
In a statement from Roberta Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, she said the letter was written prior to the fatal trip and she encouraged people to read it in its entirety.
“I truly loved my son, and simply wanted to convey to him how much he meant to me and how much I loved him,” she said. “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,” she said.
“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,” she added.
She has said similarly in court documents, saying the letter was meant “to reach out to Brian while he and I were experiencing a difficult period in our relationship.”
However, the Petito family said Laundrie’s statement is “self serving.”
“The letter is undated, and while Roberta Laundrie has suggested it was written before Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito left on their trip, a reasonable inference is that it was written after Gabby Petito was murdered, and is evidence that the Laundries and Attorney Bertolino were aware of Gabby Petito’s demise when the statement at issue was released on September 14, 2021,” the Petito family responded.
“We look forward to having a jury determine when the letter was written at the time of trial,” the Petito family added.
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.
CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.