An attorney for the family of Gabby Petito claimed in court that Brian Laundrie’s mother, Roberta Laundrie, wrote a letter to her son where she offered to “help bury a body.”

The Petito family lawyer, Patrick Reilly, said during a court hearing on Tuesday, February 14, that the letter was discovered inside Brian’s backpack along with his remains, according to CNN. Reilly claimed that the note contained suggestions from Roberta, “including helping him get out of prison, getting a shovel and some other things.” The attorney also said that the envelope containing the letter read, “burn after reading.” 

A defense attorney for the Laundrie family, P. Matthew Luka, reportedly confirmed that Robert’s letter to her son existed but argued that was not connected to the case. 

“This document pre-dates Brian and Gabby’s trip, so its creation really doesn’t have any relation necessarily to the unfortunate events that unfolded thereafter,” Luka explained during the hearing. “I know that some of the wording that was used in the letter is unfortunate and might suggest that it has some connection but it doesn’t.” 

Nevertheless, the Petito family lawyer argued, “The language in that letter is damning and that letter has a reference to bringing a shovel and burying a body,” per CNN. Judge Danielle Brewer, however, reportedly responded in court, “I don’t see how it wouldn’t be relevant to the action.” 

Gabby Petito’s Mother Dropped a Major Red Flag About Brian Laundrie, Relationship Expert Says
Ted Shaffrey/AP/Shutterstock; Courtesy of Gabby Petito/Instagram

The Petitos are currently suing the Laundrie family for emotional distress in connection with the disappearance and subsequent death of their late daughter. 

The Petitos are also involved in a separate lawsuit, as they are building a case against the Moab Police Department for wrongful death after authorities responded to a 911 call about a domestic violence incident between Gabby and Brian in Moab, Utah, and committed “neglect.” The family won $3 million in November 2022 from their original $50 million lawsuit. The incident occurred in August 2021, two weeks before Gabby’s death. 

On February 7,  Brian Stewart — who is representing the Petitos in the wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab Police Department — released a previously unseen photo of the late 22-year-old Gabby with bruises around her eye and face just moments before her and Brian’s interaction with Moab authorities. The image was taken on Gabby’s cell phone on August 12, 2021, at 4:37 p.m., which was around the same time the Utah authorities received a 911 call from a citizen who claimed they had witnessed a domestic violence incident between Brian and Gabby.

Shortly after the photo of Gabby’s face was released to the public, Stewart told In Touch that the authorities “failed to listen to Gabby” and “failed to investigate her injuries and the seriousness of her assault.”

Gabby and Brian, 23, were engaged at the time when they embarked on a cross-country trip throughout the summer of 2021. On September 11 of that year, the travel blogger was reported as missing. Ten days prior, Brian secretly returned to his parents’ home in Florida without Gabby, driving the van she had purchased for their trip. On September 15, 2021, Brian became a person of interest, and his parents reported him missing two days later. On September 19, 2021, a body matching the description of Gabby was found at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The body was confirmed to have been Gabby’s, and she subsequently confirmed to have been strangled to death

On October 20, 2021, Brian was found dead after a month-long manhunt in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, along with a dry bag of his personal belongings. He was confirmed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Brian’s bag contained a notebook in which he confessed to killing his fiancée, writing that he “ended her life.” 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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