Federal agents have shed more light on the death of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old woman who was found dead in September 2021.
According to WBAC-TV, the FBI announced Friday that Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, seemingly claimed responsibility for her death, which took place during the couple’s cross-country roadtrip last summer. Laundrie had gone missing shortly before Petito’s body was found, and was quickly named a person-of-interest in the case. Authorities then launched a nationwide manhunt for the 24-year-old Florida resident, before issuing a warrant for his arrest. On Oct. 20, authorities confirmed Laundrie’s body had been discovered in a Sarasota County nature reserve, where he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Investigators say a backpack, revolver, and notebook were recovered near his body. The notebook reportedly contained written statements in which Laundrie claimed responsibility for Petito’s death.
“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider from FBI Denver 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.”
Petito was officially reported missing on Sept. 11, less than two weeks after Laundrie had returned to his Florida home without his fiancée. The woman was found strangled to death in Grant Teton National Park in Wyoming, where she and Laundrie had been camping before her disappearance.
Federal agents also pointed to a series of text messages sent from Laundrie’s phone to Petito’s phone. Authorities believe the messages were composed by Laundrie in an effort to decieve authorities.
“After Ms. Petito’s death, there were several text messages identified between Mr. Laundrie’s telephone and Ms. Petito’s telephone,” the FBI stated. “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.”
CNN reports that the Laundrie and Petito families have reached an agreement on how to distribute the couple’s belongings. Steve Bertolino, an attorney representing the Laundrie family, said the items include the aforementioned notebook, but did not say which family would receive the item.