“48 Hours” explores Gabby Petito’s final days and the missed warning signs that might have saved her in “Gabby Petito: The Untold Story” airing Saturday, May 27 at 10/9c on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.
The parents of Gabby Petito have obtained a letter written by Brian Laundrie’s mother, in which she says she would “show up with a shovel and garbage bags” if he needed to dispose of a body. On Wednesday, a judge approved the release of the letter, which was in the possession of the FBI, after the Petitos’ lawyer requested it be used as evidence in their civil lawsuit against the Laundries.
Petito died at age 22 in 2021 while on a cross country trip with Laundrie, her fiancé. Petito’s body was found in Wyoming, and after a lengthy search, authorities discovered Laundrie’s body in Florida weeks later. He claimed responsibility for Petito’s death in a notebook, the FBI said in its final investigation report.
The letter from Laundrie’s mother, Roberta, was also found with his body. On it, she wrote “burn after reading.”
“I just want you to remember I will always love you, and I know you will always love me,” his mother wrote in the letter, obtained by CBS News. “You are my boy. Nothing can make me stop loving you, nothing will or could ever divide us no matter what we do, or where we go or what we say – we will always love each other.”
“If you’re in jail, I will bake a cake with a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body, I will show up with a shovel and garbage bags. 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,” she continues.
Laundrie was missing for weeks after Petito was reported missing and ultimately found dead, and many speculated his parents knew of his whereabouts.
In a civil lawsuit filed in March 2022, the Petitos claim Laundrie told his parents on Aug. 28, 2021 that he had killed Petito. Her body was not found until Sept. 19, near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The Petitos claim in the suit that Laundrie’s mother and father, Christopher, concealed their son’s murder confession while the investigation was ongoing. They are seeking damages of at least $30,000.
In a statement to CBS News, the Laundries’ lawyer, Matt Luka, said they “dispute that the letter was anything more than an expression of love between a mother and son and an attempt by Roberta Laundrie to repair her relationship with Brian before he left on his trip with Gabby.”
He called the focus on the phrases in the letter – a file in a cake, going to the moon, and getting new guts – are “farcical examples of the lengths someone would go for someone they love.” He said in hindsight, the wording is unfortunate.
“Now that the letter has been shared, I ask that you read it in its entirety, and understand that the letter contains other phrases besides those highlighted by Pat Reilly [the Petitos’ lawyer] for sensationalism and to bolster his case,” Luka said.
CBS News has reached out to lawyers for the Petitos, who provided the letter to CBS News, for further comment.
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