By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The fiance of a woman who was found dead in Bridger-Teton National Forest last fall admitted to killing her in a notebook he left behind after committing suicide, the FBI reported on Friday.
In October when Brian Laundrie’s remains were found in a Florida park, investigators also found a backpack, notebook and revolver. A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Laundrie claiming responsibility for Petito’s death.
Petito and Laundrie had been traveling the country in a van over the summer and her body was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in September. Laundrie returned to his home in Floria without Petito on Sept. 1 and later disappeared. His body was found in October and authorities determined he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The release of the information from Laundrie’s notebook marks the end of the investigation into the incident, said FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider.
“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” he said. “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. The public’s role in helping us in this endeavor was invaluable as the investigation was covered in the media around the world.
“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,” he concluded.
Petito’s family was notified this week that the investigation into her death will be closed in the near future.
Petito’s body was found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in September after she was last heard from in August. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue identified the cause of Petito’s death as homicide by strangulation.
He also said her body had been in the forest for three to four weeks before law enforcement officials discovered it.
After what officials believe was the date of Petito’s death, several text messages were sent between the cell phones of Laundrie and Petito. Investigators said the messages were sent by Laundrie in an attempt to convince law enforcement officers that Petito was still alive.
On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned to his home in Florida with the van and without Petito.
A warrant was issued for Laundrie’s arrest not long after by the federal court in Cheyenne. The warrant did not accuse Laundrie of any role in Petito’s death, but accused of him of unlawfully using a credit card in the days following her disappearance.
According to the FBI, Laundrie had used Petito’s debit card between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 on his drive back to Florida from Wyoming.
On Sept. 15, Laundrie’s Ford Mustang was recovered from a park in North Port, Florida. Two days later, his parents reported him missing.