Roberta Laundrie offered to ‘help bury the body,’ lawyer claims

ABC7 News at 5pm
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 3:03 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The mother of Brian Laundrie, the man accused of killing his fiancee, Gabby Petito, allegedly wrote a note to her son offering to bring a shovel to help “bury the body,” new court records show.

Patrick Reilly, the lawyer representing Gabby Petito’s parents in their lawsuit against Laundrie’s parents, referenced the note in a Dec. 5 letter to Laundrie’s lawyer, Matthew Luka.

The letter was in response to the Laundrie’s objections to providing certain documents to the plaintiffs in advance of a civil trial, scheduled for later this year.

“Request No. 16 is certainly relevant because, again, it goes to the issue of knowledge on the part of your clients of Gabby’s passing and the location of her body. This request certainly would also include the note that Roberta Laundrie wrote to Brian Laundrie when she offered to bring a shovel to help bury the body. This note was released to the custody of Mr. (Steven) Bertolino on Friday, June 24, 2022 by the FBI,” the letter said.

Bertolino, an attorney and longtime family friend, has been the Laundrie family’s spokesman. He told ABC7 on Wednesday that Reilly was trying to sensationalize old evidence to bolster his case.

“A letter was written by Roberta Laundrie and given to her son, Brian, before Brian and Gabby left Florida for New York,” Bertolino said in an email.

“This information is not new. The FBI had possession of the letter and turned it over to me back in June of 2022 with the other personal items that belonged to Brian. Attorney Reilly is trying to further sensationalize the contents of this letter to bolster his case by taking the unrelated comments in the letter out of context. If Mr. Reilly’s allegations had any merit a reasonably intelligent person would think the FBI would have acted on such information.

“You can thus draw your own conclusions as to the legitimacy of Mr. Reilly’s allegations,” Bertolino said.

ABC7 has asked Luka and Reilly for comment but have not yet received a reply.

Brian Laundrie confessed to killing Gabby Petito in a suicide note. The two were on a cross country trip in 2021 when Gabby abruptly disappeared. Brian returned home -- alone -- to North Port. Her body was found Sept. 19, 2021, in a Wyoming national park.

Laundrie then vanished. His body was found in a month later in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park,

His remains were found there in October 2021, and investigators say he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and left a note confessing to Petito’s slaying, according to the FBI.

The pending lawsuit alleges Christopher and Roberta Laundrie knew Brian Laundrie had killed their daughter and said nothing; and were conspiring to help him flee. The suit asks for damages for pain and suffering, accusing the defendants of acting “with great malice or great indifference to the rights of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt.”

The suit also claims the Laundries refusal to divulge any information about their daughter’s death “exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct which constitutes behavior, under the circumstances, which goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

The suit later added Bertolino as a co-defendant in the suit.

Both sides have already reached a $3 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.