Petito family attorney claims Brian Laundrie’s mother offered to loan him a shovel after murder

In the latest development in the sad and tragic story of slain 22-year-old Gabby Petito, the lawyer representing her parents alleged that the mother of her confessed killer Brian Laundrie offered to lend her son a shovel to bury her body after the murder, a stunning detail revealed in a new court filing in a lawsuit against Laundrie’s parents.

According to a December 5 letter from Petito family attorney Pat Reilly to the Laundries’ lawyer Matt Luka about documents to be handed over in a civil lawsuit that became a part of the public record after it was filed as an attachment to a December 20 court filing, the correspondence which was previously sought this summer is once again referenced in the letter seeking to settle a dispute over evidence that the plaintiffs are seeking to obtain.

“This request certainly would also include the note that Roberta Laundrie wrote to Brian Laundrie, [in] which she offered to bring a shovel to help bury the body,” Reilly wrote in the letter. “The note was released to the custody of Mr. Bertolino on Friday, June 24, 2022 by the FBI,” referring to the day when the Laundries’ longtime attorney Steve Bertolino met with the FBI in Tampa.

The letter to Luka which was initially reported by Fox News, was included in the Sarasota County filing.

(Image: Screengrab/Fox News)

“Investigators released several items to Bertolino at the time, including Brian’s handwritten confession, found near his remains at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park 10 minutes from his parents’ North Port home on Oct. 20, 2021,” Fox News reported.

Both attorneys at the time told Fox News Digital that there were additional documents handed over, including a letter that Reilly said was titled “burn after reading.”

“I don’t feel comfortable summarizing the letter,” he told the outlet at the time. “The content is very specific and best read when available. If my belief as to the time it was written is accurate, it shows that at least Roberta Laundrie knew of Gabby’s murder before Gabby’s body was located. The rest of the notebook contained letters to his family.”

He added that while Mrs. Laundrie’s letter was not dated, that “the content of the letter seems to indicate that it was written after Gabby’s death.”

Petito’s disappearance on the ill-fated cross-country trip by the star-crossed young lovers to some of the nation’s most picturesque locations across areas of the western U.S. including national parks in Wyoming and Utah in the summer of 2021 captivated the nation with suspicion quickly being fixed on her 23-year-old boyfriend who returned to Florida alone in the converted white Ford van that they toured in.

Brian Laundrie subsequently disappeared, going on the lam before Petito’s body was discovered in a remote area of Wyoming’s Bridger–Teton National Forest after a tip from a YouTube vlogger brought an end to a massive search effort.

An examination of her body would later confirm that Petito was murdered, leading to an intense manhunt for Laundrie whose own body would be discovered months later in a sprawling Florida nature reserve, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head with his bones showing signs of being gnawed on by rodents and other animals, a waterlogged notebook was also discovered with a confession that he killed Petito but only after she begged him to do it to end her suffering from a fall.


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Chris Donaldson


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