The attorney for Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito’s ex-fiancé on Friday released the notebook containing his handwritten confession to killing the 22-year-old Blue Point native, whose disappearance and murder while on a cross-country road trip garnered worldwide attention, after he said she fell when they were hiking in Wyoming.
“I ended her life,” Brian Laundrie wrote, in an undated, eight-page note before he died by suicide. “I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.”
Steven Bertolino, in a statement released Friday along with photographs of the notebook’s pages written in blue ink, said he released the note publicly in an effort to be transparent.
Bertolino said he was given the notebook by the FBI after he and Patrick Reilly, the attorney representing Gabrielle Petito’s parents — Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito — met at the FBI’s Tampa office earlier in the day to “sort through and take possession of the personal items that belonged to Gabby and Brian.”
Laundrie’s notebook was found last October near his skeletal remains in a previously flooded area of the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Park in North Port, Florida. The FBI said in February that Laundrie made written statements in the notebook taking “responsibility” for Petito’s death but did not describe its contents.
“I would like to share with the public the note that the FBI alluded to when they said on January 21, 2022, that Brian claimed responsibility for the death of Gabby Petito,” Bertolino said. “Although I have chosen to release this letter as a matter of transparency, I will not be commenting further as there are still proceedings pending in court.”
Neither Reilly nor the FBI Tampa office responded to messages seeking comment Friday afternoon.
In Laundrie’s suicide note, which is addressed to “Gabby,” he expressed regret and apologized for his actions.
“I’m sorry to everyone this will effect. Gabby was the love of my life, but I know adored by many. I’m so very sorry to her family because I love them.”
He added: “I am ending my life not because of a fear of punishment, but rather because I can’t stand to live another day without her.”
He claimed that he killed Petito after she fell and injured herself while they were hiking in Wyoming.
“Please do not make life harder for my family,” Laundrie wrote. “They lost a son and a daughter. The most wonderful girl in the world. Gabby I'm sorry.”
Petito’s parents filed a civil lawsuit earlier this year against the Laundries, seeking financial damages for what they alleged was their “extreme and outrageous conduct.” Petito’s parents have claimed that the Laundries knew Petito was dead and knew the location of her body but refused to provide the information to Petito’s anguished family.
Bertolino has called the suit, which is pending, “baseless.”
Petito left Long Island last July in her white van on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie, a fellow Bayport-Blue Point High School graduate. Her body was found in September in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. She died from manual strangulation and 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 in her death. He died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.