Brian Laundrie tried to trick police with text messages after Gabby Petito’s death, FBI says

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TAMPA (WFLA) – Gabby Petito’s parents met with officers at FBI Field Office in Tampa on Thursday before the The FBI shared their findings that the only person of interest in the investigation – Brian Laundrie – was involved in the tragic death of their daughter.

“The investigation has not identified anyone other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider of the FBI’s Denver Division. “The FBI’s primary objective throughout the investigation was to bring justice to Gabby and her family. The public’s role in assisting us in this endeavor has been invaluable as the investigation has been covered by the world’s media whole.

Another major revelation from the FBI’s final update on the investigation is that they discovered “written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for the death of Ms. Petito” in the notebook recovered near her remains in the Carlton Reservation in Sarasota County, Florida.

After Petito’s death, FBI agents said they found several text messages between Laundrie and Petito’s phones.

“The timing and content of these messages indicate that Mr. Laundrie attempted to mislead law enforcement by making it appear that Ms. Petito was still alive,” the FBI said.

The FBI has been the lead agency investigating the Petito case for several months now. Petito was found dead in Wyoming about a week later she was reported missing by concerned family members who had never heard of her since late August. Petito and Laundrie were on a road trip out west at the time.

Petito was reported missing on September 11 by family members who said they lost communication with her and did not get answers from Laundrie’s family. The FBI said it began investigating on September 12 and launched a search for Petito. On September 19, the FBI announced that authorities retrieved Petito’s remains at a camping area in Bridger Teton National Forest, Wyoming. This was three weeks after his last known communication.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue ruled Petito’s death a homicide and determined the cause of death to be “blunt force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation.”

“Sadly, this is just one of many deaths across the country of people involved in domestic violence,” Dr Blue said after releasing the autopsy results.

laundry returned home to North Port without Petito Sept. 1, according to police. The FBI said he used Petito’s debit card while returning to Florida from Wyoming. A federal arrest warrant was then issued for Laundrie regarding the use of his card. At that time, Laundrie’s parents reported the disappearance of their son to the police in North Port, Florida.

After a one month extensive research at the park where he told his parents he was hiking, the FBI announced that they had located what appeared to be Leftover laundry and personal effectsincluding the notebook with the written confession.

The Sarasota County medical examiner confirmed the remains belonged to Laundrie and said he died by self-inflicted gunshot.

As the FBI closes this high-profile case, agents have revealed they also found a gun near Laundrie’s remains.

“We truly appreciate the FBI’s diligent and thorough efforts in this extremely complicated case,” Petito family attorney Richard Stafford said in a statement. “The quality and quantity of facts and information gathered by the FBI leaves no doubt about the murder of Gabby by Brian Laundrie.”

In memory of their daughter, Petito’s parents created a foundation whose mission is to help find missing persons and support organizations helping victims of domestic violence.

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