Brian Laundrie’s mom allegedly wrote son a ‘burn after reading’ letter (2023)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

Below are updates regarding the Gabby Petito case.

Brian Laundrie’s mother allegedly wrote son a ‘burn after reading’ letter

In a recent February court hearing, an attorney representing Gabby Petito’s parents said Brian Laundrie’s mother wrote her son a letter that he believes indicated she was aware of Petito’s death before Petito’s body was discovered.

Attorney Patrick Reilly said he saw the letter and that it included lines about helping Brian Laundrie “get out of prison, getting a shovel and some other things,” and that the envelope said “burn after reading,” CNN reported.

The Petitos aresuingthe Laundries for emotional distress, but an attorney representing the Laundrie family says the letter —which he acknowledged existed — is not relevant to the lawsuit.

“This document pre-dates Brian and Gabby’s trip so its creation really doesn’t have any relation necessarily to the unfortunate events that unfolded thereafter,” defense attorney P. Matthew Luka said, per CNN. “I know that some of the wording that was used in the letter is unfortunate and might suggest that it has some connection but it doesn’t.”

The Petito-Laundrie case begins in August, according to People.

Lawsuit reveals photo of Gabby Petito

Attorneys representing Gabby Petito’s family in a $50 million negligence lawsuit against police in Moab, Utah, say police ignored Petito’s visible injuries when they interviewed Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, weeks before she was murdered in 2021.

(Video) Exclusive: Roberta Laundrie's "burn after reading" letter to Brian Laundrie in Gabby Petito Case

A photo of Petito that was on her cellphone was released Tuesday, Feb. 7, and was reportedly taken on Aug. 12, 2021, before she and Laundrie were stopped by police in Moab following a report that the couple had been fighting.

“The photograph shows blood and marks across Petito’s nose and left eye, which she had pointed to when she was interviewed by police while in the back of a squad car later in the day,” KSL reported.


  • Attorneys say new photo is proof Moab police ignored Gabby Petito’s visible injuries
  • Gabby Petito’s family files lawsuit against Moab Police Department

Attorney Brian Stewart said the photo provides evidence that Petito “‘was grabbed over her face in such a way that her airways were likely obstructed’ and that ‘the seriousness and significance’ of the injury was ‘completely ignored,’” per KSL.

On Nov. 17, a Florida judge awarded Gabby Petito’s family $3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s estate, the Deseret News reported.

The lawsuit, filed in May, “claimed Laundrie was liable for damages because he caused her death,” The Associated Press reported. A lawyer for Petito’s parents said the money received will go toward theGabby Petito Foundation, which strives “to address the needs of organizations that support locating missing persons and to provide aid to organizations that assist victims of domestic violence situations, through education, awareness, and prevention strategies,” according to the foundation’s website.


(Video) DISGUSTING! "Burn After Reading" Letter Brian Laundries Mother Wrote Her Son

  • Gabby Petito’s parents awarded $3 million in wrongful death lawsuit
  • ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ is facing backlash for a ‘distasteful’ clue about Brian Laundrie

“The Petito family lost their daughter and they were also denied the opportunity to confront her killer,” attorney Patrick Reilly wrote in an email, per The Associated Press. “No amount of money is sufficient to compensate the Petito family for the loss of their daughter, Gabby, at the hands of Brian Laundrie.”

Gabby Petito’s parents also filed lawsuit against Moab Police Department

Petito’s parents have also filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab Police Department, claiming police negligence “led to Petito’s death.”

The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 3, 2022, alleges that one of the responding officers to an August 2021 incident in Moab, Utah, is “a domestic abuser,” who has “used authority and threats of physical violence to control and intimidate sexual partners.”

The lawsuit states that the responding officer, Eric Pratt, was “fundamentally biased in his approach to the investigation, identifying with Gabby’s abuser, ignoring the victim and intentionally looking for loopholes to get around the requirements of Utah law and his duty to protect Gabby.”


  • Report: Moab police made ‘unintentional mistakes’ during Gabby Petito call outside Arches
  • Gabby Petito’s family files lawsuit against Moab Police Department

The police department said it will fight the lawsuit.

“The attorneys for the Petito family seem to suggest that somehow our officers could see into the future, based on this single interaction. In truth, on Aug. 12, no one could have predicted the tragedy that would occur weeks later and hundreds of miles away,” the department said in a statement.

Brian Laundrie confession

Brian Laundrie confesses to killing Gabby Petito: Shortly before taking his life, Brian Laundrie took responsibility for Gabby Petito’s death in a confession written in his notebook, Fox News reported.

(Video) Brian Laundrie's Mom Explains 'Burn After Reading' Letter

“I ended her life,” reads the note, which authorities initially recovered last October, the Deseret News reported. “I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock.”


  • Brian Laundrie’s parents skip hearing on civil lawsuit alleging they knew about Gabby Petito’s murder
  • ‘I can still hear her voice’: Arches park ranger warned Gabby Petito her relationship with Brian Laundrie seemed ‘toxic’

In the note, which Fox News obtained on June 24, Laundrie claimed Petito had injured herself after falling in Wyoming. He wrote that he heard a “splash and a scream” near where they were camping, and that when he found Petito in the water, she was “freezing cold” and had “a small bump on her forehead that eventually got larger,” Insider reported.

  • “We had just came from the blazing hot national parks in Utah,” Laundrie wrote, according to a typed version of the note shared by Fox News. “The temperature had dropped to freezing and she was soaking wet. I carried her as far as I could down the stream towards the car, stumbling exhausted in shock, when my knees buckled and knew I couldn’t safely carry her.”

Laundrie wrote that he eventually started a fire, not knowing how far away from the car they were. He claimed that Petito was “shaking violently” and was “begging for an end to her pain,” per Fox News.

  • “I don’t know the extent of Gabby’s injurys (sic). Only that she was in extreme pain,” he continued. “But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.”


  • The official cause of death for Brian Laundrie has been revealed

What Gabby Petito’s family says about Brian Laundrie’s confession

Patrick Reilly, a lawyer for the Petito family, told People magazine that Laundrie’s claim that killing Petito was “merciful” and stemmed from a “tragic accident” is “nonsense.”

  • “He is writing a letter as though he wants people to feel sorry for him,” Reilly said, per People, adding that there was nothing that could make Petito’s family “feel better about it.”
  • Petito’s family is bringing a lawsuit against Laundrie’s family to trial, alleging Laundrie’s parents knew their son killed Petito, the Deseret News reported.


According to the Deseret News, help for people in abusive relationships is available in Utah and nationwide:

  • YWCA’s Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600
  • Utah statewide Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-897-LINK (5465) and
  • 24-hour Salt Lake victim advocate hotline: 801-580-7969
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
(Video) Gabby Petito Update: Roberta Laundrie breaks silence, explains "burn after reading" letter | #HeyJB

A Gabby Petito Lifetime movie premieres

Just a little over a year after Petito’s death, Lifetime released a movie about the case that gripped the nation, the Deseret News reported.

According to the IMDb synopsis, the film follows Petito’s relationship with Laundrie and “what may have gone wrong during their cross-country trip.”


  • Is it too soon for a Gabby Petito movie? New Lifetime movie to cover the case
  • Is the production of true crime media immoral?

The film, which premiered Oct. 1 on Lifetime, has faced criticism —predominantly for how quickly it was made. The movie has been “slammed” because some view it as “greedy,” per theNew York Post.

The movie was filmed in Utah over the summer and aired Oct. 1, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Day, the Deseret News reported.

(Video) Brian Laundrie mom's letter allegedly offers shovel, mentions burial | Banfield


Brian Laundrie’s mom allegedly wrote son a ‘burn after reading’ letter? ›

Brian Laundrie's Mom Allegedly Wrote Son Letter with Inscription, 'Burn After Reading,' Says Petito

In August 2021, American woman Gabrielle Venora Petito was killed by her fiancé Brian Laundrie at the age of 22 while they were traveling together on a van life journey across the United States. The trip was planned to last for four months and began on July 2, 2021, but Petito disappeared in late August. › wiki › Killing_of_Gabby_Petito
Attorney. An attorney for Gabby Petito's parents has accused Brian Laundrie's mom of writing him a letter that allegedly suggested he get a shovel and bury a body, CNN reports.

What did Brian Laundrie's mom's letter say? ›

The envelope containing the letter said “burn after reading,” according to Reilly, who said at the time the letter was recovered from Brian Laundrie's backpack when his body was found. Roberta Laudrie's filing disputes that, saying the FBI questioned the family about it before her son's remains were discovered.

What does the burn after reading letter say? ›

The undated letter to Brian Laundrie is marked "burn after reading." The letter also quotes from Romans in the Bible. “Nothing can separate us; not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not threats, not even sin, not the thinkable or unthinkable can get between us,” it reads.

What did Brian Laundrie write in his notebook about killing Gabby? ›

The confession in the notebook reads “I ended her life, I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked, I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn't go on without her.”

What did Brian Laundry tell his parents where Gabby was? ›

Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito,” the lawsuit states. “On that same date, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie spoke with attorney Steve Bertolino, and sent him a retainer on Sept. 2, 2021.”

What is the burn after reading letter from Roberta Laundrie? ›

In Roberta Laundrie's affidavit, she said she wrote the letter to her son before their trip because they were “experiencing a difficult period in our relationship.” The instruction on the envelope, Laundrie contends, is a reference to a book she says Gabby had given Brian, “Burn After Writing,” by Sharon Jones.

Is Brian Laundries letter true? ›

The letter was released by the FBI and still exists

Laundrie attorney Steven Bertolino, who has been added as a co-defendant to the lawsuit, has confirmed the existence of the letter. Bertolino told on December 30 that the letter remains in his possession.

What's the purple thing in Burn After Reading? ›

Appearance in popular culture

The Liberator Ramp was featured in the 2008 Coen Brothers film Burn After Reading. George Clooney's character carries the Ramp up to his bed and later on Brad Pitt, hiding in the closet, stares at the pillow for a few seconds with a puzzled look on his face.

What is a burn letter? ›

A burn list is a letter (or list) of things you want to let go of. You then set the list alight to personify the emotion of setting yourself free from them. Writing a burn letter is a way to say goodbye, forgive, and let go of whatever you feel is holding you back.

What happened to Harry in Burn After Reading? ›

Simmons) try to sort out what happened: Chad is dead, Ted is dead, Osborne is in a vegetative state and dying after being shot by an agent while attacking Ted, Harry has been arrested trying to board a flight to Venezuela (but the CIA Director suggests letting him go), and Linda has agreed to cooperate in exchange for ...

How did Brian Laundrie admit to killing Gabby? ›

A notebook near his body contained a confession letter, in which he claims Gabby Petito's death was a mercy killing after she suffered a head injury in a fall, WWSB reports. He wrote that she was in pain and he thought the killing was “merciful.” “Please do not make life harder for my family,” Brian Laundrie wrote.

What were Brian Laundries last words in notebook? ›

One of the pages reads in part, quote: "I ended her life. I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made." The F.B.I. recovered the notebook near his remains in 2021 in Florida.

What was Gabby Petito's cause of death notebook? ›

But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn't go on without her,” he wrote. Petito's cause of death was ruled to be strangulation and the manner of death was homicide, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said.

What did Gabby Petitos parents think of the movie? ›

Petito's family made it clear that they disapprove of the film in a statement from Schmidt that was shared by The AWARE Foundation. "We thought our followers should know that the Lifetime movie on Gabby Petito has no connection to the Petito family nor did they give their approval," the statement read.

Did Gabby Petitos parents sue the Laundries? ›

Instead of telling authorities what they knew about Gabby's whereabouts, and her death, the lawsuit claimed the Laundries hid behind their own legal counsel while they tried to shield their son from suspicion and even allowed him to flee. In that lawsuit, the Petito's are suing the Laundries for emotional distress.

How did Gabby Petito know Brian Laundrie? ›

Mr. Laundrie first met Ms. Petito at Bayport-Blue Point High School on Long Island, according to Ms. Petito's stepfather, Jim Schmidt.

What did Roberta Laundrie letter say? ›

The letter

I just want you to remember I will always love you, and I know you will always love me. 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,” Roberta Laundrie wrote.

What was Brian Laundrie reading? ›

Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest in the case, is briefly shown reading what appears to be Jeff VanderMeer's “Annihilation,” a 2014 novel about four women who venture into the so-called Area X, where three of them die and the fourth stays permanently.

Did Brian Laundrie go camping with his family? ›

Brian Laundrie and his parents did go for an overnight camping trip at Florida's Fort De Soto Park in early September, but all three of them left the grounds together, the family's lawyer says.

Did Brian Laundries parents know what he did? ›

The Petitos amended their lawsuit, alleging that during the search for Gabby, Brian Laundrie's parents knew their son had killed her and knew “the whereabouts of the body.” Petito disappeared while on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Laundrie, last August.

Was there anything in Brian Laundries notebook? ›

Referring to his 22-year-old fiancee, Brian wrote in the diary that he "ended her life." Stating that Gabby had hurt herself and was in "extreme" pain, he further wrote: "I though it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made."

Did Brian Laundries parents find his belongings? ›

Despite the enormous task force employed to find Laundrie, it only took the couple minutes to find a “dry bag” containing personal items belonging to their son.

Is Burn After Reading true? ›

Production Weekly, an online entertainment-industry magazine, falsely reported in October 2006 that Burn After Reading was a loose adaptation of Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence, a memoir by former U.S. Director of Central Intelligence Stansfield Turner.

What is a yellow burn? ›


Sometimes called a “full thickness burn,” this type of injury destroys two full layers of your skin. Instead of turning red, it may appear black, brown, white or yellow. It won't hurt because this type of burn damages nerve endings.

What are the colors of burn injury? ›

It can range in color from a deep red to waxy white to leathery gray or charred black. There may or may not be a blister.

What does ABC stand for in burns? ›

4. TRAUMA for consultation and transportation information regarding pediatric and adult burn patients. ABC is an acronym for the first concerns of burn care: airway, breathing and circulation.

Should you write a letter to someone who hurt you? ›

Angry letters are great if written and left unsent. They help you better cope with frustration, name your negative emotions, and release them.

Can you recover a burnt letter? ›

The method that is possible to recover the contents is to use the infrared reflected photography technique. In this research, a digital camera with a simple infrared light source is used to view the contents. The method is proved to be feasible and easy to implement for the forensic document examination.

Does Netflix have Burn After Reading? ›

When a pair of clueless gym employees stumble on secret CIA documents, their clumsy attempts at blackmail land them in a dangerous world of trouble. Watch all you want. Oscar winners Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand lead an ensemble cast in this comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen.

Where does Burn After Reading take place? ›

Elsewhere in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, and seemingly worlds apart, Hardbodies Fitness Center employee Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) can barely concentrate on her work. She is consumed with her life plan for extensive cosmetic surgery, and confides her mission to can-do colleague Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt).

How long is Burn After Reading? ›

What did Brian Laundrie admit in his notebook? ›

The boyfriend of Gabby Petito admitted killing her in a notebook discovered near his body in a Florida swamp, the FBI announced on Friday.

What did Brian Laundrie do for a living? ›

Livingston, 31, was a landscaper for a Long Island garden center, where Laundrie worked the sales counter and did other odd jobs, he said. "I remember from back then he was a big yoga nut, always telling me, 'I gotta worry about my zen,'" Livingston said.

Who released Brian Laundrie notebook? ›

Laundrie had been seen with multiple notebooks while traveling with Gabby. The journal was released by the Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino, who received it from the FBI.

Did Brian Laundries parents get charged? ›

Investigators say Brian's notebook contained writings in which he confessed to the murder of his fiance, Gabby Petito. However, some questions still remain as to why Brian's parents Chris and Roberta Laundrie weren't charged for helping their son after he returned to Southwest Florida.

Did Gabby Petito have a journal? ›

Gabby Petito kept journals with drawings showing her experiences that could give crucial clues in case.

Did Gabby Petito's parents agree to the Lifetime movie? ›

“We thought our followers should know that the Lifetime movie on Gabby Petito has no connection to the Petito family nor did they give their approval,” Schmidt said in a statement released by The AWARE Foundation, according to Newsweek. “Lifetime took it upon themselves to make the movie.”

How much did Gabby Petitos family get? ›

A Florida judge awarded Gabby Petito's family $3 million in their wrongful death lawsuit against the parents of Brian Laundrie, who they believe killed Petito last year.

Was Gabby Petitos relationship abusive? ›

Many believe she suffered in silence from verbal, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. 22-year-old Petito was on a cross-country trip with Laundrie, and the two documented their trip on a social media blog.

Was Gabby Petitos body given to her family? ›

Petito's parents and stepparents held a memorial service without her remains on Sept. 26, with hundreds paying their respects at Moloney's Funeral Home in Holbrook. Teton County Coroner Brent Blue said Tuesday that Petito's body had been turned over to a local funeral home, which made arrangements with the family.

Can Gabby's parents sue Brian's parents? ›

Thanks for signing up! A Florida judge ruled that the parents of Gabby Petito — Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt — can sue the parents of Brian Laundrie for emotional distress, saying a statement the Laundries made during Gabby's disappearance was "outrageous" enough to permit a lawsuit.

What did Brian Laundrie say about Gabby Petito in his notebook? ›

“She would wake in pain, start her whole painful cycle again [illegible] furious that I was the one waking her. She wouldn't let me try to cross the creek, thought like me that the fire would go out in her sleep and she'd freeze. I don't know the extend of Gabby's injuries, only that she was in extreme pain.

What did Brian Laundrie tell his parents when he came home? ›

The new suit claims that after returning from his vacation, Brian informed his parents of Gabby's murder. Instead of turning him in, it alleges that the family went on vacation to Fort DeSoto campground while knowing the location of Gabby's body.

How did Brian meet Gabby? ›

According to Gabby's stepfather, Jim Schmidt, Gabby and Brian met at Bayport-Blue Point High School in Long Island. At the start of their relationship, Gabby was a sophomore, and Brian was a junior.

What all did Brian Laundries notebook say? ›

"I ended her life, I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked, I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn't go on without her." 48 Hours airs on CBS this Saturday, September 17, 2022, at 9 pm ET.

What did Laundries notebook say? ›

- The first public glimpse of a confession Brian Laundrie left in a notebook in the Florida swamp where he killed himself last year reveals his final words. "I ended her life," reads the note, which the FBI recovered from the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Oct. 20, 2021.

Did they ever say what was in Brian Laundries notebook? ›

Brian Laundrie's notebook appears to include a confession that he killed Gabby Petito. "I ended her life. I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted," it said. Laundrie also said he chose to kill himself because he couldn't "live another day without her."

What was Gabby Petito code word? ›

The FBI released the last text Gabby sent from her phone, which happens to contain the word “Stan.” The text in question was sent on August 27 and reads “can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.” Savvy people on the web claim the word “Stan” is actually a codeword for danger.

What was Gabby Petito's pain? ›

“When [I] pulled Gabby out of the water, she couldn't tell me what hurt,” he said. “She had a small [bump] on her forehead that [eventually] got larger. Her feet hurt, her [wrist] hurt but she was freezing, shaking violently. While carrying her she continually made sounds of pain.”

Did Laundries parents know where he was? ›

The Petitos amended their lawsuit, alleging that during the search for Gabby, Brian Laundrie's parents knew their son had killed her and knew “the whereabouts of the body.” Petito disappeared while on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Laundrie, last August.

What were Brian Laundry's last words? ›

- The first public glimpse of a confession Brian Laundrie left in a notebook in the Florida swamp where he killed himself last year reveals his final words. "I ended her life," reads the note, which the FBI recovered from the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Oct.


1. ‘Burn After Reading’: Gabby Petito’s Family Pushes Killer’s Mom to Turn Over Disturbing Letter
(Law&Crime Network)
2. Gabby Petito family attorney Pat Reilly claims Roberta Laundrie sent letter to son marked 'burn afte
(WFLA News Channel 8)
3. Attorney reveals Roberta Laundrie sent Brian an 'odd' letter | Banfield
4. Petito family lawsuit against Laundrie family goes before judge
(10 Tampa Bay)
5. Petito lawyer claims Brian Laundrie's mother offered shovel to bury Gabby's body | #HeyJB
(WFLA News Channel 8)
6. Laundrie's letter about shovel, burying a body could change Gabby Petito case | #HeyJB
(WFLA News Channel 8)


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