This week, the family of Gabrielle Petito met with the FBI at the Tampa Field Office as the investigation will be closed in the near future.
“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” said FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “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. 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.”
The FBI opened its investigation into the disappearance of Ms. Petito on September 12, 2021, upon receiving reports from Gabby’s family that Ms. Petito was missing. The FBI, working with federal, state and local officials, organized a search of a remote area within the Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
On September 19, 2021, the search team located the remains of Ms. Petito at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area near where she and Brian Laundrie had been seen together. Ms. Petito was found approximately three weeks after her last known communication. The Teton County Coroner’s Office subsequently concluded Ms. Petito died of “blunt-force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation.” While law enforcement investigated all logical leads, the investigation quickly focused on the last person believed to see her alive—Mr. Laundrie.
The following is a timeline of the investigation:
- The FBI investigation revealed that, between August 30 and September 1, 2021, Mr. Laundrie had used Ms. Petito’s debit card without authorization on his drive back to Florida from Wyoming.
- After Ms. Petito’s death, there were several text messages identified between Mr. Laundrie’s telephone and Ms. Petito’s telephone. 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.
- On September 15, 2021, Mr. Laundrie’s Ford Mustang was recovered from the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Park in North Port, Florida.
- On September 17, 2021, Mr. Laundrie’s parents reported him missing shortly after law enforcement conducted a welfare check at their residence.
- On September 18, 2021, law enforcement officials commenced an extensive search of the park where Mr. Laundrie’s vehicle was parked and did not locate Mr. Laundrie. The area where Mr. Laundrie’s remains were later found was part of this search area, but the area was submerged due to recent flooding at the time of this initial search.
- On September 22, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Mr. Laundrie. The warrant was issued pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictment for violation of federal statute 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(1): “Use of Unauthorized Access Devices” related to Mr. Laundrie’s activities following the death of Ms. Petito.
- On October 7, 2021, after law enforcement made a request through Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino, the Laundries provided personal effects to law enforcement which were to be used to assist in the search of the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
- On October 20, 2021, after water had receded from the area and the park was reopened, Mr. Bertolino notified law enforcement that Mr. Laundrie’s parents intended to return to the park to search for Mr. Laundrie. Law enforcement officers were present when Mr. Laundrie’s parents located an item in the park later determined to belong to Mr. Laundrie.
- Upon further search of the area, investigators found human remains later confirmed to be Mr. Laundrie, along with a backpack, notebook, and a revolver. A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death.
- On November 23, 2021, the District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office in Sarasota, Florida, released its report on the manner and cause of death of Mr. Laundrie. The report concluded Mr. Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The FBI thanks all the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation including the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Search and Rescue, Jackson Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Northport Police Department, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.