Roberta Laundrie's 'Burn After Reading' Letter To Brian Shows The Toxic Side Of Loving Your Child Unconditionally

How far is too far to go, for a parent to protect their child?

Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie Instagram & YouTube

A ‘burn after reading’ letter from Brian Laundrie’s mom, Roberta Laundrie, has been made public after a hearing in the civil lawsuit brought by Gabby Petito's parents.

Gabby’s parents, Joe Petito and Nicole Schmidt, are suing Roberta and Christopher Laundrie for emotional distress after the death of their 22-year-old daughter while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, Brian.

Gabby’s death was ruled a homicide by strangulation after her remains were found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest in September 2021, weeks after Brian returned to his family’s Florida home alone. By the time her body was uncovered, Brian had already disappeared from his residence. After weeks of searching, his remains were found in a reserve a few miles from the Laundrie’s North Port home. It was determined that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


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Among his belongings was a notebook in which he wrote that he was responsible for Gabby’s death. He was also carrying a backpack with the letter that Roberta now claims was written before Gabby and Brian left for their road trip.


Roberta and Christopher Laundrie, who never faced any criminal charges after their son’s crime, have been the subject of scrutiny from those who followed the case due to questions that remain about the knowledge of Gabby’s death and any role they played in covering it up. 

A letter that Roberta Laundrie wrote to her son Brian contained the directive to 'burn after reading.' 

“I just want you to remember I will always love you and I know you will always love me,” Roberta’s letter starts. “You are my boy.”

RELATED: Brian Laundrie’s Parents ‘Knew Where Her Body Was,’ According To Lawyer In Gabby Petito Case


The letter continues with Roberta listing off the lengths to which she would go to protect Brian if he were to ever get himself in any sort of trouble.

“If you’re in jail, I’ll 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 wrote. “If you fly to the moon, I will be watching the skies for your re-entry. If you say you hate my guts, I’ll get new guts.”

There appears to be an element of an enabling parenting style woven through Roberta’s text. While the expectation exists that parents love their children unconditionally, one also has to wonder at what cost that love exists.

Roberta’s claim that she would do literally anything for her son isn’t a sign of good parenting, a healthy form of attachment, or even an appropriate way to protect your child. If your child is a danger to themselves and others, covering up their actions isn’t a form of protection, it’s enabling behavior.


Roberta's love for and attachment to her son contains hints of an existing enmeshed family system, a term that originated in 1970 from therapist Salvador Minuchin. An enmeshed family system lacks strong boundaries. Within enmeshed relationships, “the emotional bond between family members is intertwined and without separation.”

“Nothing can separate us,” Roberta wrote to Brian. “Not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not threats, not even sin, not the thinkable or unthinkable can get between us.” 

Brian Laundrie’s parents raised a child who grew into a violent adult. Whether or not they aided and abetted his actual crime, they’re guilty of participating in a culture of nurturing toxicity, where a lack of established ethical boundaries led Brian to believe he could hurt others without consequence—his mother told him as much in this letter.


Roberta Laundrie’s letter is an example of an extreme level of enabling love, or rather, what she misinterprets to mean love. In a healthy relationship, love means setting boundaries. It means not making endless excuses for your loved ones causing harm. It means teaching children— especially boys, who will grow into men— to have a well-defined moral compass, rather than allowing them to walk through the world as though they’re untouchable.

RELATED: 6 Crucial Questions About Gabby Petito's Murder That The Trial Of Brian Laundrie's Parents Could Answer

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.