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September 23, 2023

Brian Laundrie wrote he was responsible for Gabby Petito’s death, FBI says

Brian Laundrie wrote he was responsible for Gabby Petito’s death, FBI says

Brian Laundrie left behind writings showing his “responsibility” for the death of girlfriend Gabby Petito, whose disappearance last year launched a massive search from Utah to Florida, the FBI said Friday.

Federal investigators formally closed the book on the probe of Petito’s whereabouts and death after the 22-year-old social media influencer’s body was found on Sept. 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

Gabrielle Petito and Brian Laundrie.@gabspetito / via Instagram

Laundrie’s body was found in Florida on Oct. 20.

“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a statement.

“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.”

Laundrie’s body was found in a nature preserve not far from his parents’ home in Florida. A search of that area also turned up a backpack, notebook and a revolver linked to Laundrie.

“A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death,” an FBI statement said.

A Florida medical examiner ruled that Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Petito died by “manual strangulation” at least three weeks before her remains were found, a Wyoming coroner said.

The writings by Laundrie show there can be no doubt how she died, according to a Petito family statement released by their lawyer Richard Stafford.

“We truly appreciate the FBI’s diligent and painstaking efforts in this extremely complicated case,” the family statement said. “The quality and quantity of the facts and information collected by the FBI leave no doubt the Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby.”

Laundrie’s loved ones, in a statement released through their attorney, Steven Bertolino, lamented the shared tragedy suffered by both families.

“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,” according to the statement. “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.

The couple had been on a cross-country driving adventure, launching from Blue Point, New York, on July 2 and chronicling their adventures on social media.

Petito was last seen in Utah and police in Moab encountered the pair on Aug. 12.

A review of the police actions that day concluded that officers should have considered it a domestic violence case, which could have led to an arrest or citation of Petito for allegedly striking Laundrie, officials said.

Laundrie flew home alone to his parents’ Florida house on Aug. 17 and then back to Utah six days later to “rejoin Gabby,” Bertolino said.

Laundrie drove home and arrived at his parents home in North Point, Florida, on Sept. 1, again without Petito.

David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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