Brian Laundrie wrote in a notebook found with his remains in Florida that he killed fiancee Gabby Petito, the FBI said Friday, resolving a mystery that has lingered around the high-profile case for months.
The FBI offered new details in the case, presented a thorough timeline of the events surrounding both Laundrie and Petito’s disappearances and announced the case will be closed with Laundrie as the only suspect in Petito’s death.
“The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito,” FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a written statement.
In September, Laundrie returned home to Florida from a cross-country trip, in which he and Petito planned to travel to national parks across the U.S. But his fiancee was no where to be found. Soon, Laundrie also went missing, fueling even more interest in the investigation.
Laundrie’s remains were found in Florida in October after a weekslong search, about a month after Petito’s remains were found in a remote area near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.
The case led to weeks of frenzied intrigue in the fall, and the FBI’s latest statement helps piece together several remaining questions that surrounded the case.
Before Friday’s statement, the contents of Laundrie’s notebook has remained a mystery despite efforts by the media, public and Laundrie’s parents to gain access to it. The FBI did not provide any other details as to what else the notebook contained.
The FBI also revealed that a revolver was found with Laundrie’s body and that the 23-year-old texted his already dead fiancee multiple times, hoping to trick law enforcement into thinking she was still alive.
When Laundrie returned from the trip in September, he retained a lawyer almost immediately, thwarting law enforcement from gaining information from him.
For weeks, authorities received tips and scoured areas where the pair had been spotted.
During the nationwide search for Petito, Laundrie also went missing. He told his family he was going to hike in the Carlton Reserve, nearly 25,000 acres of land in southern Sarasota County, Fla. But he never returned.
Authorities combed through swampy forests but found no traces of the 23-year-old. The search garnered widespread attention and even TV personality Duane Lee Chapman, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” joined in.
Weeks later, the nature park was reopened in late October and Laundrie’s parents entered with authorities to search for their son. They discovered an item that belonged to Laundrie and nearby the group found his remains. The FBI said the area where his remains were found was swampy and previously flooded by recent rains, which prevented authorities from discovering them earlier.
Officials also found a notebook, backpack and a revolver with Laundrie. An autopsy found Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The FBI said a review of the notebook included “written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death.”
Law enforcement questioned Laundrie’s parents, but the pair have not been charged with anything relating to the case.
The case sparked worldwide intrigue and garnered a wide following on social media with online sleuths attempting to solve the case. It also sparked deeper conversations about what experts dubbed “missing white woman syndrome” and a newfound focus on cases involving missing people of color.
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