Four months after the mysterious death of YouTuber and blogger, Gabby Petito, the FBI revealed that her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie “admitted responsibility” for her murder in a notebook found with his body.
Brian Laundrie, 23, shot himself after Petito was found in September 2021 strangled in a Wyoming campground. The couple had been on a cross-country road trip in their van that Gabby Petito documented on YouTube.
But Laundrie returned alone to his family home in North Port, Florida, on 1 September without Petito sparking an outcry by her family over her disappearance. Weeks later her body was found.
The murder of Petito, 22, drew national media attention and the FBI placed Laundrie as a person of interest in her death but weeks after disappearing, Laundrie’s own body was found in a Florida nature preserve near his parents’ home on 20 October
“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 statement on Friday, January 21.
“The FBI’s primary focus throughout the investigation was to bring justice to Gabby and her family.”
He said all “logical investigative steps have been concluded” in the case.
In a statement, the Petito family thanked law enforcement for their investigation. They gave particular praise to the FBI’s Victim Services Department, which they said helped the “entire family navigate through the worst moments of their lives”.
FBI says Laundrie’s body was found in an area of the nature preserve that had previously been underwater. He was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, along with the journal, a revolver and a backpack.
The FBI statement said that, on his journey back to Florida, Laundrie sent text messages between his and Petito’s phones in an attempt “to deceive law enforcement by giving the impression Ms Petito was still alive”. He also used her debit card without authorisation.
FBI Agent Schneider praised the public for submitting “thousands of tips,” calling their role “invaluable”.
A lawyer representing Laundrie’s family said the case “has caused enormous emotional pain and suffering to all who loved either or both” Petito and Laundrie.
“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.”