The mother of a man who killed his girlfriend on a cross-country trip in an infamous murder case wrote him a letter offering to help him “dispose of a body.”

It’s the latest revelation in the case of Brian Laundrie, who killed himself at some point after receiving the letter. Police say Laundrie killed Gabby Petito in 2021 while the couple was trekking across the country in a conversion van, publishing blissful romantic videos of their travels. Her body was found in Wyoming.

“If you’re in jail, I will bake a cake with a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body, I will show up with a shovel and garbage bags,” Roberta Laundrie wrote in a letter she instructed her son to destroy after reading, which was provided to USA TODAY by her lawyer.

The letter was undated and was in an envelope that said Laundrie’s name and “(burn after reading).”

“I just want you to remember I will always Love you and I know you will always Love me. You are my boy,” the letter reads.

Petito’s disappearance that summer gained national attention, with weeks of speculation about what happened to her and whether Laundrie, her fiance, had killed her. Laundrie returned from the trip without her, and her family reported her missing. Laundrie later also disappeared.

The case drew attention to domestic violence, and police footage showed officers in Utah speaking to the couple after they were pulled over in a traffic stop. They said they had been fighting and police ultimately let them leave. A review found Moab police made mistakes and missed signs of domestic violence, and Petito’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police.

PREVIOUSLY: Gabby Petito’s family sues Brian Laundrie’s parents, alleging they knew of her murder

Petito’s body was found in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in September 2021. A coroner ruled her death homicide by strangulation.

Laundrie admitted killing her in writings found with his body at Carlton Reserve, nearly 25,000 acres of land in southern Sarasota County in Florida, in October 2021, authorities said.

His mother’s letter was the subject of a court hearing Wednesday. Petito’s parents filed a lawsuit against Laundrie’s parents claiming they knew of her death and took actions to conceal it from Petito’s family and from law enforcement investigating her disappearance.

Petito’s family lawyer argued the letter was relevant to the lawsuit, while the Laundries’ lawyer had tried to withhold it, court records reviewed by USA TODAY show. A judge ordered the letter released to Petito’s family.

An attorney for the Laundries said the letter was written before their son’s trip with Petito and was not about her. Matt Luka, the Laundries’ lawyer, said in a statement to USA TODAY the examples Roberta Laundrie listed of things she would do for her son were “farcical” and “demonstrably not intended to be serious.”

“In hindsight, the letter may appear unfortunately worded, but that was never its intention,” lawyers wrote in a court filing.

Roberta Laundrie said in an affidavit obtained by USA TODAY that she doesn’t remember the exact date she wrote the letter but that she was trying to “reach out to” her son while they went through “a difficult period in our relationship.” She said her instructions to burn the letter after reading it were a reference to a book Petito gave her son called “Burn After Reading.” She also said she didn’t intend for anyone else to read it.

“While I used words that seem to have a connection with Brian’s actions and his taking of Gabby’s life, I never would have fathomed the events that unfolded months later between Briand and Gabby would reflect the words in my letter,” Roberta Laundrie wrote in the affidavit.

Roberta Laundrie asked that people read the letter in its entirety in a statement provided by Luka.

Patrick Reilly, the attorney representing Petito’s parents, said in court Wednesday that a jury should determine when the letter was written.

“The letter is undated, and while Roberta Laundrie has suggested it was written before Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito left on their trip, a reasonable inference is that it was written after Gabby Petito was murdered, and is evidence that the Laundries and Attorney Bertolino were aware of Gabby Petito’s demise when the statement at issue was released on September 14, 2021,” Reilly said in a statement. “We look forward to having a jury determine when the letter was written at the time of trial.”

The case is expected to go to trial in May 2024.

Contributing: Gabriela Szymanowska and Earle Kimel, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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