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Brian Laundrie claimed responsibility for Gabby Petito’s death in his notebook, FBI says

Brian Laundrie talks to an officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah on Aug. 12. (Moab Police Department/AP)
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Four months after Gabby Petito went missing while on a cross-country road trip with her fiance, the FBI says all evidence points to her partner as the sole culprit, including a notebook found with his body.

In its final update on the investigation, the FBI on Friday shared its timeline of the Petito case, from last August, when Brian Laundrie, 23, used Petito’s debit card on his drive back to Florida, to the medical examiner’s report that Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His remains were found after a month-long manhunt on Oct. 20 in Florida’s Carlton Reserve, along with a backpack, revolver and notebook, which the FBI said contained “written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death.”

The 22-year-old’s killing has drawn international interest on social media, including Internet sleuths who scrutinized the couple’s social media posts and those who criticized the lack of similar attention on missing women of color.

A throng of Internet sleuths are on the Gabby Petito case. Why has it sparked so much interest?

Despite the questions swirling around the case, it’s unclear how much more the public will learn about Petito’s last days. Authorities have not indicated they would bring a prosecution against anyone else for Petito’s death, which was ruled a homicide by strangulation.

Before Gabby Petito's body was found, she was pulled over with Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12 in Utah. A clinical psychologist analyzed the footage for The Post. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

The notebook and Laundrie’s other belongings have been requested by his parents, News Nation Now previously reported. The family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, did not respond to questions about the notebook Friday but shared a statement:

“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,” Bertolino wrote. “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.”

The Petito family thanked the FBI for helping them “navigate through the worst moments of their lives,” in a statement shared by their attorney Richard Stafford.

“We truly appreciate the FBI’s diligent and painstaking efforts in this extremely complicated case,” the statement continued. “The quality and quantity of the facts and information collected by the FBI leaves no doubt [that] Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby.”

Announcing “all logical investigative steps have been concluded” in the case, FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider acknowledged the role the public played in seeking answers around Petito’s disappearance and Laundrie’s manhunt.

“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 said in a statement.

Laundrie and Petito had set out on their cross-country camping trip in June from Petito’s home in New York state, with plans to arrive in Portland, Ore., by Oct. 31. Instead, according to the FBI, Laundrie used Petito’s debit card beginning Aug. 30 without permission to drive home from Wyoming, where the couple was last seen together.

Laundrie also seemed to attempt to deceive law enforcement by texting his own phone from Petito’s phone, the FBI said.

He returned to his parents’ Florida home Sept. 1, 10 days before Petito’s family reported her missing.

Days later, amid the intensifying scrutiny into the disappearance of his fiancee, Laundrie slipped away on law enforcement’s watch, driving to Carlton Reserve, a vast wetlands area in southern Florida.

His Ford Mustang was recovered near there, and more than a month later, skeletal remains were found.

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