FBI: Brian Laundrie admitted in journal he caused Gabby Petito’s death

Gabby Petito. Photo: North Port Police Department/Twitter

DENVER, Colorado, Jan. 21, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Denver office of the FBI has filed its final report on the events surrounding the deaths of Gabby Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie, with findings including the fact that Laundrie admitted he was responsible for his girlfriend’s death.

The FBI shared findings with Petito’s family on Thursday, and expects to close the case in the near future, the report summary says.

“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” said FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito.”

The FBI’s primary focus throughout the investigation was to bring justice to Gabby and her family, the statement says.

“The public’s role in helping us in this endeavor was invaluable as the investigation was covered in the media around the world. On behalf of the FBI, I want to express my deepest appreciation to the public for the thousands of tips that were provided during the investigation, and to our local, state and federal law enforcement partners for their work throughout the investigation,” Schneider wrote.

Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, had been traveling the mountain west in a van, and made stops in August in Ogden and Moab. In Moab, a person alerted police on Aug. 12 of last year that he saw the couple fighting, with Laundrie striking Petito.

Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito are shown during a stop by Moab Police following a domestic violence report by a witness. Images: Moab Police

Police body camera video shows that officers separated the two for the night, then Petito and Laundrie went on their way, to the area of Grand Teton National Park.

After a restaurant sighting of the couple in which witnesses reported seeing Laundrie verbally abuse the wait staff, Petito was never seen alive again.

On Sept. 1, 2021, Laundrie arrived at his parents’ Florida home in the van, but soon after disappeared.

The FBI opened its investigation on Sept. 12, and Petito’s body was found on Sept. 19 in Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

“Ms. Petito was found approximately three weeks after her last known communication. The Teton County Coroner’s Office subsequently concluded Ms. Petito died of ‘blunt-force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation,'” the FBI report says. “While law enforcement investigated all logical leads, the investigation quickly focused on the last person believed to see her alive — Mr. Laundrie.”

The investigation report also revealed the following timeline (all dates are in 2021) and details:

  • Between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, Laundrie used Ms. Petito’s debit card without authorization on his drive back to Florida from Wyoming.
  • After Petito’s death, there were several text messages identified between Laundrie’s telephone and Petito’s telephone. The timing and content of these messages are indicative of Mr. Laundrie attempting to deceive law enforcement by giving the impression that Ms. Petito was still alive.
  • On Sept. 15, 2021, Laundrie’s Ford Mustang was recovered from the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Park in North Port, Florida. On Sept. 17, 2021, Laundrie’s parents reported him missing shortly after law enforcement conducted a welfare check at their residence.
  • On Sept. 18, law enforcement officials began an extensive search of the park where Laundrie’s vehicle was parked and did not locate Laundrie. The area where Laundrie’s remains were later found was part of this search area, but the area was submerged due to recent flooding at the time of this initial search.
  • On Sept. 22, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Laundrie. The warrant was based on “Use of Unauthorized Access Devices” related to  Laundrie’s activities after Petito’s death.
  • On Oct. 20, after water had receded from the area and the park was reopened, the Laundrie family attorney notified law enforcement that Brian’s parents intended to return to the park to search for their son. Law enforcement officers were present when Laundrie’s parents located an item in the park later determined to belong to Mr. Laundrie.
  • Upon further search of the area, investigators found human remains later confirmed to be Laundrie, along with a backpack, notebook, and a revolver. A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death.
  • On Nov. 23, , the District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office in Sarasota, Florida, released its report on the manner and cause of death of Laundrie, which concluded he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The FBI thanked all the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation including the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Search and Rescue, Jackson Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Northport Police Department, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

 

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