The lawyer for Gabby Petito’s family says Brian Laundrie’s mother wrote an inscribed letter that allegedly referenced burying a body and getting a shovel; he now wants her to answer questions about the letter in a deposition.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the Petito family filed a lawsuit against the Laundrie family for emotional distress, after Gabby’s untimely 2021 death during a road trip with her boyfriend, Brian.
During a remote hearing Tuesday with the Sarasota County Circuit Court, attorney Patrick Reilly said he read a letter that the FBI obtained from Brian Laundrie’s backpack after they found him dead in a Florida park, that indicated his family told him to get “a shovel and some other things,” CNN reports.
The letter, according to Reilly, also said it should be burned “after reading” and was allegedly written by Laundrie’s mother, Roberta Laundrie.
The Laundrie family’s defense lawyer, P. Matthew Luka, said during the hearing that the letter was irrelevant since it was written before Brian Laundrie left on the road trip with Gabby, although he did confirm that the letter does exist.
“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. 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,” Luka said.
Reilly argued that the letter had no date on it and it should be up to a jury to decide whether it would be relevant or not in the case.
“The language in that letter is damning and that letter has a reference to bringing a shovel and burying a body,” Reilly argued.
Reilly is pushing Roberta Laundrie to be deposed concerning the letter since it allegedly “offered to bring a shovel to help bury the body.” Reilly said that the defense threatened to file a lawsuit against him for defamation after he pushed for the original letter.
“I don’t see how it wouldn’t be relevant to the action,” Judge Danielle Brewer said on Tuesday.
The Laundries reportedly responded by saying they have no duty to the Petito family. The case is scheduled to go to trial in August.
Prior to his death, Laundrie had embarked on a cross-country trip with Gabby in July 2021. By September 1, Laundrie returned to his parents’ North Port, Florida, home with Gabby’s van, but without Gabby.
On September 19, 2021, authorities found Gabby’s deceased body in a remote area at the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. According to Teton County coroner, Dr. Blue, Gabby died from strangulation; her death has been listed as a homicide.
In November, the FBI announced that Laundrie’s remains were found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida. He had a gunshot wound to his head.
Laundrie’s parents told authorities that Laundrie fled to the Carlton Reserve while highly upset on September 13, even though his father begged him to stay at home. His father, Chris Laundrie told his attorney that Brian Laundrie claimed he wanted to get some fresh air and take a hike at the reserve.
The Laundries have claimed they didn’t know of the alleged murder and didn’t their son evade police.
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