Petito attorney: Laundrie’s mom offered son shovel to bury body

Posted at 2:10 PM, January 4, 2023 and last updated 9:04 PM, May 2, 2023

By Katie McLaughlin

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (Court TV) – The attorney for Gabby Petito‘s parents claims Brian Laundrie’s mother offered her son a shovel to help bury his fiancé’s body.

According to a newly-filed court document in the lawsuit against Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, Roberta wrote a letter to Brian, offering to bring him a shovel after Petito’s death by strangulation in Wyoming.


The Laundries’ legal team, however, insists the letter was written before the young couple embarked on their 2021 cross-country road trip in Petito’s van.

Petito family attorney Pat Reilly contacted Laundrie family attorney Matt Luka via a letter dated Dec. 5, 2022 regarding documents that Laundrie’s parents should hand over in a civil lawsuit. One of those documents that the Petitos want to see is the alleged letter written by Roberta.

The letter was reportedly given to the Laundrie family’s other attorney, Steve Bertolino, by the FBI on June 24, 2022.

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito

FILE – This Aug. 12, 2021, file photo from video provided by the Moab, Utah, Police Department shows Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito talking to police officers after police pulled over their van near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

At that time, Bertolino also took possession of Brian’s handwritten confession. Brian’s confession letter was located near where his body was found on Oct. 20, 2021 in Florida’s Carlton Reserve at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, about 10 minutes from his parents’ North Port home. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bryan, 23, killed Gabby, 22, during the couple’s trip. The pair had been documenting their adventures on their “Van Life” YouTube channel. Brian strangled Gabby in Wyoming, left her body there, and then drove her van back to his parents’ Florida home, authorities say. A nationwide search for Gabby ensued. Her remains were discovered in Grant Teton National Park on Sept. 19, 2021.

The Petitos allege Roberta Laundrie knew Gabby was dead before her body was found and remained silent.

In regards to the letter about the shovel, Bertolino insists Roberta made the shovel offer before the couple even left for their trip. That letter was undated, but the Petitos have stated, through their attorney, that “the content of the letter seems to indicate that it was written after Gabby’s death.”

Christopher and Roberta Laundrie have not been charged with any crimes in connection with Gabby’s death.