A letter at the center of controversy in a lawsuit between the families of Long Island natives Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito has nothing to do with the death of Petito, Roberta Laundrie says.
Roberta Laundrie, of North Port, Florida, filed paperwork with the court on Monday, March 6, claiming the letter with the words "Burn After Reading," printed on the front, has nothing to do with the death of Petito of Blue Point, in Suffolk County.
The attorney of the Petito family, Joe Petito, and Nichole Schmidt has also filed paperwork with the court to make the letter admissible as evidence in an upcoming civil trial between the two families claiming it makes reference to a shovel and burying a body.
But Roberta Laundrie says in a letter to the court obtained by NBC affiliate WFLA News Channel 8, that it has nothing to do with Petito's death and was written months before the young couple set out on their ill-fated road trip in the summer of 2021.
“Although I do not know the exact date I wrote the letter, I do know that I wrote it and gave it to Brian before Brian and Gabby left Florida for New York which was on June 2, 2021,” Roberta wrote.
Gabby, age 22, was reported missing by her mother on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2021, after she learned Brian returned to Florida from a cross-country trip in Gabby's van without her.
Her body was found on Sunday, Sept. 19, in a remote area within the Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Utah after an intensive search by the FBI and local enforcement agencies.
Laundrie later killed himself and left a letter confessing to killing Gabby, according to the FBI.
"The purpose of the letter was to reach out to Brian while he and I were experiencing a difficult period in our relationship," Roberta wrote. "Brian and I always had a very open and communicative relationship and in the months prior to the trip, our relationship had become strained."
Laundrie's mother admits the letter does contain references that some would think are about her son and Petito, however, she claims there is “no connection” to what happened to the couple.
“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. The words in the letter could never have been a comment on that tragic situation as they were written so many months before," Roberta wrote.
WFLA reported Roberta says claims by Pat Reilly, the attorney for Petito’s parents, that the letter was received by Brian and found in his backpack by the FBI near his remains at the Carlton Reserve are false.
Instead, she said the FBI seized the letter as evidence before Brian’s remains were found. It was later returned to her.
Reilly declined to comment on the matter to Daily Voice.
A date for a hearing on whether the letter is admissible has not been set.
Click here to read the WFLA 8 story, including the letter from Roberta to the court.
This remains a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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