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Brian Laundrie murdered girlfriend Gabby Petito in a ‘mercy’ killing because she was in ‘extreme’ pain after an accident on their van-life adventure in Wyoming, he claims in an astonishing notebook confession.
The apparent sensational twist to a story that has gripped America can now be revealed in images of the eight water logged pages handed to DailyMail.com by the Laundrie’s attorney Steve Bertolino.
Laundrie, 23, writes that he strangled his 22-year-old fiancé as the result of an ‘unexpected tragedy’ in Grand Teton National Park in which Gabby fell into a creek and injured herself on their road trip last summer.
And he began the notebook with a personal message addressed to Gabby, in which he claimed: ‘I wish I could be at your side, I wish I could be talking to you right now.’
In self-pitying sentences written in smudged blue pen, Laundrie claims he battled to comfort Gabby who was deteriorating, crying in pain and shivering from constant cold.
But eventually he killed her, writing: ‘I don’t know the extent of Gabby’s injuries, only that she was in extreme pain.
‘I ended her life. I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistake that I made. I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain.’
Pages from Brian Laundrie’s notebook revealed that he killed girlfriend Gabby Petito (left) allegedly out of mercy after an accident on their van-life adventure in Wyoming. The infamous case triggered a manhunt for Laundrie after he returned to Florida alone and disappeared, with his body and the notebook found days later
Laundrie’s notebook contained a letter written to the late Petito before he killed himself following a large manhunt for him, The notes revealed a confession from Laundrie, who claimed he killed Peito out of mercy after an accident during their cross-country trip
Laundrie wrote that he could not live without Petito after he killed her, writing his sucide note and plans to die by the Florida creek where his body was eventually found
Laundrie’s remains were found north of the entrance to Myakkahatchee Creek, in the Big Slough Preserve, off an unpaved trail near a bridge where Brian’s parents said he liked to visit. It is four miles north of their home in North Port, Florida
There is no indication of how Laundrie apparently cared for Gabby before he ended her life.
His notebook was found in a dry bag beside his body on October 20 last year after he fled to the alligator-infested Carlton Reserve near his home in North Port, Florida. He’d shot himself in the head.
In a desperate bid to explain his version of events, he writes: ‘I am sorry to my family, this is a shock to them as well as a terrible greif (sic)….
‘Please do not make this harder for them, this occurred as an unexpected tragedy.’
The couple were at the national park after visiting Utah on their trip west in Gabby’s 2012 white Ford Transit. They were cataloguing the trip on social media.
Laundrie writes in his notebook: ‘Rushing back to our car, trying to cross the steam of spread creek before it got too dark to see, to (sic) cold. I hear a splash and a scream. I could barely see, I couldn’t finder her for a moment, shouted her name.
‘I found her breathing barely, gasping, any (indistinct as the ink is waterlogged) she was freezing cold, we had just come from the blazing hot national parks in Utah.
‘The temperature had dropped to freezing and she was soaking wet. I carried her as far as I could down the stream towards the car, stumbling, exhausted in shock, when my (indistinct) and I knew I couldn’t safely carry her.’
He continues in an occasionally confusing monologue: ‘I started a fire and spooned her as close to the heat, she was so thin, had already been freezing too long. I couldn’t at the time realize that I should’ve started a fire first but I wanted her out of the cold back to the car. From where I started the fire I had no idea where the car might be. Only knew it was across the creek.
‘When I pulled Gabby out of the water she couldn’t tell me what hurt. She had a small bump on her forehead that eventually got larger. Her feet hurt, her wrist hurt, but she was freezing, shaking violently, while carrying her she continually made sounds of pain.’
Then he begins his excuse for murdering his fiancée. He writes: ‘Laying next to her she said little, lapsing between violent shakes, gasping in pain, begging for an end to her pain. She would fall asleep and I would shake her awake fearing she shouldn’t close her eyes if she had a concussion.
‘She would wake in pain, start her whole painful cycle again, furious that I was the one waking her. She wouldn’t let me try to cross the creek, thought like me that the fire would go out in her sleep.’
It is then he claims he killed Gabby because it was ‘merciful’.
Laudrie wrote that Petito’s condition was worsening in the Utah wilderness and was begging ‘for an end to her pain’
After killing his fiance, Laundrie said he rushed home and had thought about getting his friends to kill him to end his own pain
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito were engaged to be married prior to their deaths
The two were on a cross country trip in their van when Petito was killed. They were sharing images of their trip on Instagram
Police and FBI officials retrieved items belonging to Brian Laundrie, including a notebook, near where his body was found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park
He adds: ‘I knew I couldn’t go on without her.
‘I rushed home to spend any time I had left with my family.
‘I wanted to drive north and let James or TJ kill me, but I wouldn’t want them to spend time in jail over my mistake, even though I’m sure they would have liked to.’
Of his own fate in the 25,000-acre swampland on Florida’s west coast, he writes: ‘I’m ending my life not because of fear of punishment, but rather because I can’t stand to live another day without her.
‘I’ve lost our whole entire future together, every moment we could have cherished. I’m sorry for everyone’s loss. Please don’t make life hard for my family, they lost a son and a daughter. The most wonderful (?) girl in the world I’m sorry.
‘I have killed myself by this creek in the hope that animals may tear me apart that it might make some of her family happy.’
As an apparent after thought, and in larger writing, he finishes with the words: ‘Please pick up all of my things. Gabby hated people who litter.’
Laundrie began the notebook with the personal message to Gabby, writing: ‘I wish I could be at your side, I wish I could be talking to you right now. I’d be going through every memory getting even more xxx for the future. But we’ve lost our future.
‘I can’t be without you. I’ve lost every day we (indistinct) spent together… I’ll never get to play with (indistinct) again. Never go hiking with T….I can’t bear to look at our photos, to recall great times because it is why I cannot go on.
‘When I close my eyes I will think of laughing on the roof of the van, falling asleep to the sight of a (indistinct) at the crystal geyser. I will always love you.’
Attorney Bertolino passed on to the images to DailyMail.com after he and the Petitos’ attorney Patrick Reilly met with the FBI in Tampa, Florida, today/Fri to take possession of Brian and Gabby’s personal items.
The meeting came three days after Gabby’s distraught mom cried in a courtroom listening to her lawyer blast the actions of killer Laundrie’s parents as ‘callous and shameful’.
Petito and Laundrie are seen on July 4 in Utah. They had set out two days previously on a road trip, planning to document their journey on social media, where Petito was known as a ‘van-life girl’
The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11
Resident in Blue Point, New York, set up a candlelight vigil on for their neighbor Gabby Petito
A memorial of stones arranged in a cross pattern was spotted Monday evening at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite east of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Petito’s stepfather made a similar tribute at the exact spot where her body was found
Nicole Schmidt, 41, also toyed nervously with a necklace as she sat with former husband Joseph Petito, 42, the father of the van-life girl.
The devastated mother and father are suing Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, alleging they knew their son had murdered Gabby after he returned to their Florida home alone – and tried to help him flee authorities.
They claim the Laundries are guilty of ‘inflicting intentional emotional distress’ and that a statement issued by their lawyer hopeful of a successful end to the search for then-missing Gabby was ‘outrageous’ because they allegedly already knew she was dead.
Their attorney Reilly told Sarasota County Court, Florida: ‘This is case not simply about the silence of Robert and Christopher Laundrie who knew their son had brutally murdered Gabby Petito.’
He said it also wasn’t about their ‘callous refusal despite pleas from the Petito family’ to speak out about whether not Gabby was alive – or if she wasn’t the location of her body.
‘It’s about a course of conduct that they committed from when they learned on August 28, 2021 that their son had brutally murdered Gabby Petito,’ he said.
Reilly said this included the statement that was made by the attorney advising them at the time, Steve Bertolino, regarding their wish for a successful end to the search.
The Laundries were not in court, but were spotted the following day by DailyMail.com near their home in North Port.
Judge Hunter W. Carroll asked what duty did Christopher, 63, and Roberta, 56, have to do ‘anything to help’ Gabby’s parents.
‘It’s about what they did with the information that they had,’ Reilly replied. ‘Not just not disclosing what they knew.’
He added the Laundries could have made an anonymous phone call to reveal the location of Gabby’s body. The lawyer said they knew Gabby’s parents were ‘desperately searching’ for information.
Nichole Schmidt (left) and Joseph Petito (right) were in court on Wednesday afternoon for a hearing on the lawsuit they filed against Roberta and Christopher Laundrie
Joe Petito called Chirs and Roberta Laundrie, pictured, cowards for avoiding his family
Gabby’s remains were eventually discovered on September 19, 2021, in lonely spot in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. She and boyfriend, Brian, had lived with his parents in North Port, near Florida’s west coast. The young couple set off on an adventure from New York State – where her mother lives – in early July, heading West
The hearing was to consider the Laundries’ motion to dismiss the case. After hearing pleas from both sides, Judge Carroll said he hoped to issue a written decision in two weeks. If he dismisses the motion, the Laundries could face a jury trial next year.
It was the first time Gabby’s parents had an opportunity to be in a court over the tragic death of their daughter. Laundrie shot himself after fleeing to a Florida swamp, denying them legal justice.
However, the hearing continued the couple’s pain as they had to listen to arguments. Both sets of parents had been friendly before Gabby went missing, the court was told.
Gabby’s remains were eventually discovered on September 19, 2021, in lonely spot in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
She and boyfriend Brian had lived with his parents in North Port. The young couple set off on an adventure from New York State – where her mother lives – in early July, heading West.
However, on September 1, Brian arrived back at the Laundrie home on his own in Gabby’s white Ford van. Eleven days later anxious Schmidt reported her daughter missing after last having contact in a phone call on August 25.
Hours after Gabby’s mom raised the alarm, North Port Police hauled the white van off the Laundrie’s driveway and took it off for forensic examination.
Officers asked to speak to Brian at the house, but were told by his parents he wasn’t available. It is not known if the killer was inside at the time.
Laundrie then went missing in Carlton Reserve near his home, sparking a massive hunt involving local police, the FBI and at least two sheriff’s departments.
His parents initially told police he vanished on September 14 to go hiking in the reserve, but later changed this to a day earlier. His body was eventually found in the swamp on October 20 after his parents broke cover and joined law enforcement there.
When Gabby was missing, attorney Bertolino issued a statement saying: ‘On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.’
Attorney Reilly attacked that statement as a ‘lie’, alleging it was said to give ‘false hope’ to Gabby’s parents that she may be still alive. He added they knew the ‘fragile and emotional state’ of the parents at the time – and that it was ‘callous and shameful’.
He added: ‘I guess it is OK to kick someone when they are down, according to the Laundries.’
Reilly alleged the only reason attorney Bertolino wasn’t an additional defendant in the case was because he is not a citizen of the State of Florida.
A search party of about 50 officers have gathered to search the Carlton Reserves, in Florida, for Brian Laundrie, after he went missing when Petito’s death was confirmed
North Port Police, FBI agents and other agencies are on the hunt for Laundrie at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environment Park, in Florida’s Carlton Reserve, where his body would eventually turn up
Officers combed the forest as the search began on Saturday, September 18. Laundries body was found a month later
The extensive manhunt gripped the nation, who wanted answers over the disappearance and death of Petito
Laundrie’s body was found in a creek by the swamplands of the park, along with his belongings and notebook
Matt Luka, attorney in court for the Laundries, spent a long time arguing the law in relation to remaining silent. He said remaining silent did not constitute inflicting emotional distress.
He added that the plaintiffs argued the Laundries had a duty to speak but ‘the law imposes no such obligation to speak’.
Luka continued: ‘Even if Brian Laundrie conveyed information to his parents they did not have a requirement to speak out.’
In Gabby’s parents response to the Laundries’ motion to dismiss the case, their attorneys write: ‘It is believed and therefore averred that on or about August 28, 2021, Brian Laundrie advised his parents Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito.
‘On that same date, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie spoke with Attorney Steve Bertolino and sent him a retainer on September 2, 2021.
‘After this point in time, there was no contact between Joseph Petito and Nicole Schmidt on the one hand, and Christopher Laundrie and Roberta on the other.’
They say from August 27 to September 19 ‘when Gabrielle Petito’s remains were found at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area’ that Gabby’s parents were extremely distraught and trying to locate her.
‘While Gabrielle Petito’s family was suffering, the Laundrie family went on vacation to Fort DeSoto Park on September 6-7, 2021. They went on vacation knowing that Brian Laundrie murdered Gabrielle Petito, it is believed they knew where her body was located….
‘In an effort to avoid any contact with Nichole Schmidt, on or about September 10, 2021, Roberta Laundrie blocked Nichole Schmidt on her cellular phone such that neither phone nor texts could be delivered, and she blocked her on Facebook.’
They add that ‘with full knowledge’ that Gabby ‘had been murdered by their son’ they issued the statement through their lawyer Bertolino.
‘For the Laundries to express their ‘hope’ that Gabrielle Pet was located and reunited with her family, at a time when they knew she had been murdered by their son, was beyond outrageous,’ they write.
In the Laundries’ motion to dismiss paperwork, attorney Luka writes their ‘inaction was not outrageous but legal permissible and constitutionally protected’.
‘The amended complaint alleges that the Laundries failed to have any contact with the Plaintiffs when the Plaintiffs wanted the Laundries to speak or otherwise communicate’ with them, the motion continues.
The lawyer adds: ‘That allegation falls so far below the ‘particularly high’ standard for outrageous conduct that the Amended Complaint should never have been filed.’
He said the Laundries – who have never faced any criminal charges over the tragedy – are entitled to exercise their legal rights. ‘There is no requirement that an individual face a formal criminal investigation in order to remain silent,’ the lawyer added.
After the hearing Bertolino said the Laundries had ‘no regrets’ about their response to Gabby’s murder – and had acted appropriately.
‘What I knew, or what Chris and Roberta knew, we did not have to disclose, to any third party, and specifically to law enforcement, or the Petito family,’ Bertolino told News Nation.
‘I did everything the right way. We have no regrets. The parents did everything the right way, and they have no regrets.’
When asked specifically what the Laundries knew about Petito’s death, Bertolino declined to answer, saying it ‘wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment’ given the pending lawsuit.
He did reiterate that he told the media months ago: ‘I don’t know exactly what Brian had said to his parents. I had said publicly that what Brian told me was privileged. I was not going to share it.
‘I had conversations with Brian. I had conversations with Chris and Roberta. I had conversations with them separately and I had conversations with them together. So, it’s not for me to comment at this point in time what Chris and Roberta knew.’
Timeline of missing Gabby Petito’s case
July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip
August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple
Aug. 17: Laundrie allegedly flies back to Florida to ‘clear out a storage unit’
Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug. 23: Laundrie flies back to Utah to ‘rejoin Gabby’ on their trip
Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie
Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nichole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park
Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes
Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground; Witnesses say they saw a ‘commotion’ with the couple at Merry Piglets Tex-mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming
Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm
Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito’s phone: ‘No service in Yosemite’
Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito
Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida
Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day
Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito
Sept. 13: Laundrie’s lawyer says on October 5 that his parents now ‘believe’ this was the day they last saw him heading for a hike
Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Laundrie’s parents claim on September 17 that Laundrie left his parents’ home for a hike this day and they hadn’t seen from him since
Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case
Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown
Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie
Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon
Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation
Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carton Reserve
Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13
Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando
Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie
Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children
Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left
Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14;
Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home
Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did
Oct. 2: A hiker along the Appalachian Trail claims to have seen Laundrie near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina
Oct. 3: Investigators searched the area on the Appalachian trail for any signs that Laundrie had been there
Oct. 4: Laundrie’s sister told protestors outside her home that her family has been ignoring her after they rebuked her story and that she does not know where her brother is
Oct 5: Laundrie’s sister appeared on Good Morning America to say she would turn her brother in if she knew where he is;
Oct. 7: Laundrie’s father Christopher joins FBI agents on the search for his son at the Carlton Reserve but the search brings up no clues
Oct. 12: Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announces autopsy findings which show Petito died by strangulation; No specific date of death was given – only that she was dead 3-4 weeks before her body was found
Oct. 16: Petito’s parents are seen collecting her ashes from the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming
October 20: Human remains found in Carlton Reserve
October 21: FBI confirm the body found belongs to Brian Laundrie. A notebook, backpack and dry bag are also found near the body