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Brian Laundrie’s Mom Wrote About ‘Baking A Cake With A Shiv In It,’ Gabby Petito’s Parents Say
Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt say the note could establish Roberta Laundrie knew that Gabby had been killed amid the desperate search to find her, but she's insisted it was an innocent message written before Gabby had gone missing.
Gabby Petito’s parents are requesting a Florida judge to order Brian Laundrie’s parents turn over a letter his mother allegedly wrote her son that references “baking a cake with a shiv in it” if he were to end up in prison, which they think signals Roberta Laundrie might have known about their daughter's murder prior to her body being found.
The mother-son letter is now at the heart of a legal battle between Laundrie and Petito’s parents. Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt are suing Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, as well as their attorney Steve Bertolino, alleging they intentionally inflicted emotional harm by failing to disclose their knowledge of Gabby's murder amid a desperate search to find her. Joe and Nichole say the Laundries avoided them by not returning phone calls or texts, and accuse them of actively working to cover up Gabby's murder as well as assisting Brian in making plans to flee the country. They're seeking at least $30,000 in damages.
The Laundries deny knowing that Brian killed his fiancée in late August 2021 during a cross-country trip visiting national parks, which Gabby was chronicling on social media.
Where was Gabby Petito's body found?
Gabby’s body was discovered in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest in September 2021; she had been strangled to death, authorities said. Laundrie was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Florida in October. He'd gone missing weeks prior as the investigation into Gabby's disappearance escalated. He confessed to Gabby’s murder in a notebook, which was located near his partial skeletal remains, according to the FBI.
What was in the letter Roberta Laundrie wrote to her son Brian?
The letter in question, which was undated, was found among his belongings. Patrick Reilly, one of the lawyers for Petito's family, said he became aware of it after viewing it at an FBI field office, according to CNN. The Petito family filed a motion to obtain the letter in February; the Laundries countered in March that the letter was written before Gabby's death and has no relevance to the case.
Roberta Laundrie has also repeatedly suggested the letter was merely a loving note from a mother to her son.
“I had hoped this letter would remind him how much I loved him,” she stated in the March filing.
In court documents filed May 5, however, the Petitos say if the jury determines the letter was written after Gabby’s killing, it could implicate Laundrie’s parents in the civil case.
“The letter in question written by Roberta Laundrie references bringing a shovel to help bury a body, and baking a cake with a shiv in it should Brian Laundrie go to prison,” the attorneys wrote in court filings. “A reasonable inference is that the letter was written at a time when Gabrielle Petito was as yet unburied, and Brian Laundrie could go to jail for the crime of murder.”
The case’s next hearing has been scheduled for May 24. The case is expected to head to trial next year.