Pat Reilly, the attorney for the Petito family, wrote a letter to Matt Luka, the attorney for the Laundrie family, earlier this month informing him of materials he was seeking from the Laundrie family in a civil lawsuit.
The letter, which just became public record, references a letter that Reilly sought to obtain several months ago that Roberta Laundrie allegedly wrote to her son, Fox News reported. The letter was reportedly titled, “burn after reading.”
“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. “The note was released to the custody of Mr. Bertolino on Friday, June 24, 2022 by the FBI.”
Reilly told Fox News that he was not comfortable describing what was in the letter and that the content was “very specific.” He said that he believes the letter proves that Roberta Laundrie “knew of Gabby’s murder before Gabby’s body was located.”
Steve Bertolino, the Laundries’ longtime family attorney, told Fox News that the allegations were “not based on fact but on conjecture only,” claiming that the letter was written prior to when the murder happened.
Petitio’s parents have filed a lawsuit against Bertolino claiming he knew their daughter was dead when he publicly stated that the Laundrie family hoped “that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.”
On July 2, 2021, Gabby Petito left New York with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie. They took a road trip to Colorado and Utah. On August 12, a park ranger from Utah’s Arches National Park warned Gabby Petito that her relationship with Brian Laundrie appeared “toxic” and urged her to “find another path.”
The last time Petito was seen alive was on August 27, 2021, at a Jackson Hole, Wyoming, restaurant. On August 30, a text was sent from her phone: “No service in Yosemite.” On September 19, human remains matching her description were found at Spread Creek campground. The FBI confirmed that the body was hers and they ruled the cause of death to be a homicide.
But prior to the discovery of Gabby Petito’s body, on September 14, 2021, Bertolino released a statement in which he said:
This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family. On the advice of counsel the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.
The new lawsuit claims of Laundrie’s parents, “When they did choose to speak, it was through statements issued by Steven Bertolino. It is believed that at the time the September 14, 2021 statement was issued, the Laundries and Steven Bertolino knew that Gabby Petito was deceased, and that under those circumstances, the statement was insensitive, cold-hearted and outrageous.”
Hank Berrien contributed to this report.