Brian Laundrie’s mother offered him a shovel in ‘burn after reading’ note


Roberta Laundrie says letter had nothing to do with Petito

An attorney for Laundrie’s parents filed for a protective order on the letter in March, saying Roberta Laundrie wrote it months before Gabby Petito’s death.

Roberta Laundrie added in an accompanying affidavit that she wrote the letter to her son at a time when their relationship was “difficult” and “strained.” She said that she did not know the exact date she wrote the letter but that she gave it to him before he and Petito left for their trip. 

“I was trying to connect with Brian and repair our relationship as he was planning to leave home — and I had hoped this letter would remind him how much I loved him,” she wrote. 

She said that the two shared a love of stories and Petito had given her son a book entitled “Burn After Writing” that they often joked about. 

“This is where my message to Brian came from and I wrote on the cover of the letter for Brian to ‘Burn After Reading,’” she said. 

“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 said.

Roberta Laundrie wrote “burn after reading” in a letter to her son, Brian.via Attorney Patrick Reilly

She said the letter was not in her son’s possession or in his backpack when he died because the FBI had the letter and questioned the Laundrie family about it prior to the discovery of his remains. 

Reilly, the attorney for the Petito family, said that the FBI found the letter in a box in a closet in the Laundries’ house. It contained items from the van he and Petito were traveling in, Reilly added.

The Petito family said in a statement after Wednesday’s proceedings that they appreciated the judge’s ruling, adding that “she recognized the importance of the ‘Burn After Reading’ letter as a potential source of evidence to be used at trial against the Laundries.”

“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 statement said. On that day, the Laundrie family released a statement through their attorney hoping that Petito would be found. 

“We look forward to having a jury determine when the letter was written at the time of trial,” the Petito family said.

Laundrie’s parents insisted the letter had nothing to do with Petito in a statement released by their attorney, Matthew Luka.

“The letter to Brian was written prior to Gabby and Brian leaving my home for their trip,” Roberta 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,” she added.

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