Gabby Petito: Boyfriend of blogger ‘responsible’ for her murder

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito (left) was found dead in Wyoming (Image: Instagram)

The boyfriend of killed blogger Gabby Petito “admitted responsibility” for her murder in a journal found with his body, according to the FBI.

Brian Laundrie, 23, shot himself after Petito was found in September strangled in a Wyoming campground. The couple had been on a cross-country road trip.

Laundrie’s body was found in a Florida nature preserve near his parents’ home on 20 October.

The murder of Petito, 22, drew national media attention.

“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.

“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”.

The couple had been documenting their travels on social media before Laundrie returned alone to his family home in North Port, Florida, on 1 September without Petito.

She was reported missing by her mother on 11 September after she stopped responding to phone calls. Her body was discovered near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on 19 September.

Laundrie’s body was found in an area of the nature preserve that had previously been underwater, the FBI said. 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.

The FBI had previously identified him as a “person of interest” in the case.

Petito was last seen alive on 27 August.

The mystery of her disappearance, along with a video from a police traffic stop in Utah showing her crying and describing a fight with Laundrie, led millions of people to closely follow updates in the case.

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.”


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