Brian Laundrie claims responsibility for Gabby Petito’s death in notebook found near remains: FBI

Photo credit File

BOHEMIA, N.Y. (1010 WINS) -- The FBI revealed Friday that a notebook found near Brian Laundrie's remains in a Florida park included a note where he confessed to killing Gabby Petito.

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FBI’s Denver office said Friday in its "final investigative update" on the Petito case that “all logistical investigative steps have been concluded in this case.” In it included revelations that Laundrie tried to mislead officials via texts sent between his and his fiancée's phones.

“The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito,” said FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “The FBI’s primary focus throughout the investigation was to bring justice to Gabby and her family. The public’s role in helping us in this endeavor was invaluable as the investigation was covered in the media around the world.”

The FBI provided a timeline of the investigation, beginning on Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, when officials said Laundrie used Petito’s debit card while driving back alone from Wyoming to Florida. That use was tied to a warrant for his arrest, issued weeks later.

After Petito’s death, FBI officials said several texts were found between Laundrie’s and Petito’s phone. Officials said because of the timing and content of the texts, Laundrie was “attempting to deceive” law enforcement by trying to make it seem like Petito was still alive.

The Laundrie family became part of the search for Brian after he went missing in mid-September on Oct. 7 at the request of law enforcement. On Oct. 20, Laundrie’s parents found items belonging to Brian, and officers soon after found his remains, along with a backpack, notebook and revolver.

A review of the notebook showed written statements by Laundrie claiming responsibility for Petito’s death. What exactly he wrote was not released by the FBI.

The timeline also includes previously known info, including that on Sept. 15, Brian Laundrie’s Ford Mustang was recovered from Myakkahatchee Creek Park in Florida, two days before his parents reported him missing. Law enforcement searched the area, but did not initially find his remains because the area was submerged.

Petito/Schmidt family attorney Richard Stafford released a statement Friday, thanking the FBI and its Wyoming, New York, Denver and Tampa offices, as well as all assisting agencies in the case.

Photo credit Richard Stafford

“Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI’s Victim Services Department for all they have done for them. Victim Services has been there for support from the earliest stages of this investigation and helped their entire family navigate through the worst moments of their lives,” said Stafford.

Stafford acknowledged the FBI’s “painstaking efforts” in the “extremely complicated” Laundrie-Petito case.

“The quality and quantity of the facts and information collected by the FBI leave no doubt [that] Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby,” Stafford said.

Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino said in a statement after the release of the FBI's findings, "Gabby and Brian are no longer with their families and this tragedy has caused enormous emotional pain and suffering to all who loved either or both of them."

"We can only hope that with today's closure of the case, each family can begin to heal and move forward and find peace in and with the memories of their children. May Gabby and Brian both rest in peace," Bertolino concluded.

Petito’s family members had visited FBI’s Tampa field office Thursday.

Bertolino said yesterday that the Petito and Laundrie families reached an agreement over the “distribution of property.”

Earlier this month, Laundrie’s parents had requested ownership of the notebook found near his remains that contained the confession. It's not clear who it went to.

The conclusions come months after Laundrie was determined as a person of interest in the death of Petito, who was found dead in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in September.

The case gained national attention after Laundrie returned to his parent’s Florida home from a “van life” trip on Sept. 1 without Petito. Petito’s mother reported Gabby missing days later, and while the search for the 22-year-old woman continued, Laundrie disappeared from his home and never returned.

Petito was determined to have died by “manual strangulation” while Laundrie’s cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A domestic violence incident in Moab, Utah reported to police by a witness in August caught massive attention as the case unfolded, with body camera footage coming out weeks later showing Petito in tears as she spoke to cops.

An independent investigation filed with the Moab City Police Department into the incident found responding officers made "unintentional mistakes" in their handling of the dispute.

Featured Image Photo Credit: File