Gabby Petito's fiancé took "responsibility" for her death in written statements inside a notebook found near his body after he died by suicide, the FBI said Friday.
The new detail came in an announcement Friday afternoon from the FBI in Denver, the lead investigators into Petito's homicide, that the investigation "did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved" in Petito's death. The investigation "will be closed in the near future," the FBI said.
"All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case," FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider 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. The public’s role in helping us in this endeavor was invaluable as the investigation was covered in the media around the world."
Petito, 22, who had been on a cross-country road trip with fellow Bayport-Blue Point High School graduate Laundrie, was fatally strangled and her body was found in September in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
Friday's FBI statement said in addition to the medical examiner ruling that Petito died from manual strangulation, her cause of death also listed "blunt-force injuries to the head and neck."
Laundrie, 23, whom the FBI had called a "person of interest" in her homicide, was never charged and his remains were found Oct. 20 in a Florida nature reserve. He died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
What to know
- Brian Laundrie, the person of interest in the killing of his then-fiancee Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, claimed “responsibility” for her death in a notebook found hear his body after he died by suicide, the FBI said Friday.
- The FBI said the investigation "did not identify any other individuals other than Laundrie directly involved" in Petito's death.
- Petito’s cause of death also listed "blunt-force injuries to the head and neck" in addition to manual strangulation, the FBI statement said.
- Laundrie attempted to deceive law enforcement by giving the impression that Petito was still alive in emails sent between the couple’s phones, the FBI said.
The FBI, in a timeline of the case it released Friday, said after Petito's killing, several text messages sent between the phones of Petito and Laundrie were intended to throw off investigators.
"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," the FBI said.
Petito's family reported her missing after she stopped responding to messages in late August. Laundrie arrived at his Florida home in Petito's white van on Sept. 1 and refused to talk to police about Petito.
Amid the search for Petito, Laundrie told his parents he was going hiking at the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Park in North Port, Florida on Sept. 13. He never returned home.
Law enforcement conducted an intensive search of the area, which was flooded for several weeks, without locating Laundrie.
It wasn't until his parents searched the area, with law enforcement in tow, that Laundrie's skeletal remains were found, along with the notebook and a backpack. A revolver was also found, the FBI said Friday. The FBI did not indicate whether it was the same handgun that the Laundrie family reported missing from their home after their son left.
"A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death," the FBI said.
Petito's parents met with the FBI in Tampa on Thursday, the FBI said.
Richard Stafford, the attorney for Petito's family, in a statement thanked the FBI and other authorities for their work on the case.
"The quality and quantity of the facts and information collected by the FBI leave no doubt the Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby," Stafford said. "We truly appreciate the FBI’s diligent and painstaking efforts in this extremely complicated case," Stafford said.
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said the parents were given "some knowledge" of what was written in the notebook, but he declined to comment further on its contents. He said he's gotten "some indication" the notebook will be returned to the parents.
In a statement, Bertolino said: "Gabby and Brian are no longer with their families and this tragedy has caused enormous emotional pain and suffering to all who loved either or both of them. 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."