By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
North Port, FL – Federal authorities announced that they have closed the book on the investigation into the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito after they discovered her boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, took responsibility for her death in a notebook found with his remains.
Laundrie’s partial remains were found near a backpack that contained items belonging to the dead man on Oct. 20, 2021 in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Sarasota County.
One of the items that was found in a waterproof bag was a notebook, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) press release on Jan. 21.
“A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death,” according to the FBI.
The press release said that the FBI had met with Petito’s family and let them know they were about to close her case.
“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in the press release on Jan. 21.
“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,” Agent Schneider continued.
He also thanked the public for its assistance in the investigation.
“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 agent said. “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.”
Her death has been ruled a homicide by manual strangulation.
Police named Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s homicide, but investigators initially stopped short of labeling him as a suspect.
The U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal warrant for Brian Laundrie’s arrest on Sept. 22, 2021 for use of unauthorized devices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver office announced in a press release.
But by then, Brian Laundrie had disappeared.
During an interview on “Dr. Phil,” Petito’s parents and step-parents said the warrant was the result of Brian Laundrie stealing Petito’s bank card and using it “to get home and then [run] from the police,” WAGA reported.
The couple set off in Petito’s converted camper van in early July of last year to tour U.S. national parks.
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said she last spoke with her daughter on Aug. 25, 2021.
Laundrie returned to his family’s Florida home in Petito’s van on Sept. 1, 2021, but she was not with him.
He refused to speak with police or Petito’s family about where he last saw her before he supposedly vanished while hiking in a Florida nature reserve on Sept. 14, 2021.
Laundrie’s parents claimed they haven’t spoken to him since then.
Petito’s body was discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19, 2021.
Laundrie’s remains were found in a month later.
His family’s attorney said that Laundrie appeared to have died by suicide, NBC News reported.
The FBI’s press release said that the District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office in Sarasota had concluded that Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.