Petito and Laundrie

Gabby Petito Lawsuit: Judge Denies Withholding of ‘Burn after reading’ Letter Written to Brian Laundrie

A Florida judge denied the motion for the defense to withhold a “burn after reading” letter in the civil lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s parents.

The latest hearing is part of a lawsuit relating to Gabby Petito’s 2021 death in Wyoming. The Petito family filed a lawsuit against Roberta and Chris Laundrie for emotional distress, after Gabby died during a road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.

The defendants have since pushed to squash the letter from being given to the prosecution, leading to the latest hearing Wednesday at the Sarasota County court.

“At this time I am gonna be denying the defendant’s motion for the protective order,” Judge Danielle Brewer said.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, during a remote hearing in February, attorney Patrick Reilly said he read a letter 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.”

The letter, according to Reilly, also said it should be burned “after reading” and was allegedly written by Laundrie’s mother, Roberta Laundrie.

“A reasonable inference is that the letter was written at a time when Gabrielle Petito was as yet unburied, and Brian Laundrie could go to jail for the crime of murder,” the initial court filing read.

“If the jury were to find that letter was written after Gabrielle Petito’s murder, if is further proof that the Laundries and Bertolino were aware that she was deceased at the time the statements in question were issued.”

Petito, Laundrie Motion by Leigh Egan

Roberta Laundrie previously argued that the letter was written before the fatal road trip and that parts of its contents were meant as a joke. Reilly argued that “the content of the letter seems to indicate that it was written after Gabby’s death,” although the Laundries claim it was written months before the fatal road trip.

“Attorney Reilly and his clients are entitled to allege what they want in court filings, but their allegations are not based on fact but on conjecture only,” Laundrie’s lawyer, Steve Bertolino, previously told WFLA-TV.

“The letter in question was written prior to Brian and Gabby leaving Florida and has nothing to do with this case.”

In court Wednesday, Reilly attempted to provide a summary of the letter but was corrected by the judge.

“The letter mentions burying a body… baking a cake and putting a shiv in it,” he said before the judge interjected, clarifying that it did not mention a “shiv” but rather a different item.

Gabby’s Death

Prior to his death, Brian Laundrie had embarked on a cross-country trip with Gabby in July 2021. By September 1, 2021, Brian 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 Brian 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 their son fled to the Carlton Reserve while highly upset on September 13, 2021, even though his father begged him to stay at home.

The Laundries have claimed they didn’t know of the alleged murder and didn’t help their son evade police.

Check back for updates.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.

[Feature Photo: Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie/Instagram]