In a significant development, a letter written by Roberta Laundrie, the mother of Brian Laundrie, was unveiled to the public on Wednesday.
The note contained unsettling statements, with Roberta promising to bring a shovel and garbage bags to assist her son in disposing of a body.
Brian had previously confessed to killing his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, before tragically taking his own life in 2021.
Roberta expressed her unwavering love for Brian in the letter, emphasizing their unbreakable bond.
She wrote, “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.”
Her words continued with a touch of whimsy, saying, “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.” To further convey her sentiments, she quoted a verse from Romans 8:38 from the Bible.
The release of the letter came after Florida Judge Danielle Brewer ruled that it could be presented as evidence in the emotional distress lawsuit filed against the Laundries by Gabby’s parents, Nichole Petito and Joe Schmidt.
Roberta Laundrie clarified that she wrote the letter before Brian, 23, and Gabby, 22, embarked on their cross-country road trip in June 2021, several months prior to Gabby’s tragic discovery in September.
In an affidavit previously submitted, Roberta explained that she wrote the letter during a challenging period in her relationship with Brian, as a means of reaching out to him.
She stated that the “burn after reading” label referred to a book titled “Burn After Writing” that Gabby had given to Brian, which encouraged writing self-expressive letters and then destroying them.
Regarding the references to shovels, burying bodies, and baking files into cakes to be sent to her son in prison, Roberta Laundrie explained that she incorporated references to Brian’s favorite childhood books, “Little Bear” and “The Runaway Bunny,” as well as phrases commonly used within their circle of friends and family to depict support during difficult times.
Matthew Lukda, the Laundries’ attorney, argued during the hearing that the mention of murder and prison in the letter was coincidental, asserting that the wording, though regrettable in hindsight, did not make the letter relevant.
However, Pat Reilly, the attorney representing Schmidt and Nichole Petito, held up the bear and bunny books in court, highlighting that he found no references to bodies or shovels within them.
Reilly also contended that while the letter itself did not distress Gabby’s parents, it could serve as evidence that they were aware of Gabby’s death when they released a statement in September 2021, which suggested hope for her safe return.
Ultimately, Judge Brewer ruled in favor of Schmidt and Nichole Petito, allowing the letter to be admitted as evidence. At the conclusion of the hearing, Lukda provided multiple copies of the letter to the prosecution.