Brian Laundrie tried to deceive the police by sending Gabby Petito’s parents fake text messages, according to new details from the FBI. As authorities concluded their investigation, the bureau came to the decision that Laundrie purposefully pretended that she was still alive to try and cover up the murder.

Over two months since both Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito were each found dead, the case has finally come to an end, solving the mystery of what happened to the young couple that gripped the nation. Releasing new information about Brian Laundrie’s text messages and the contents of his private notebook, the FBI reasoned that they had significant evidence to prove that he killed Gabby Petito before taking his own life months later.

Authorities alleged that, following the timeline of events, it appeared that Brian Laundrie exchanged fake texts from his phone to her phone after the murder in an attempt to deceive police.

“After Ms. Petito’s death, there were several text messages identified between Mr. Laundrie’s telephone and Ms. Petito’s telephone,” the FBI wrote in their final report. “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.”

After Gabby Petito’s parents reported that they had not heard from her in several weeks, her mother received a text message that she said did not sound like it came from her. When Gabby Petito’s remains were found on Sep. 19 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the FBI returned to those messages for any clues.

The penultimate text message from Gabby came in a couple weeks earlier on Aug. 27, according to CNN, and read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”

Brian Laundrie admitted to the murder of Gabby Petito in his notebook before taking his own life, the FBI reported
Brian Laundrie admitted to the murder of Gabby Petito in his notebook before taking his own life, the FBI reported. Photo Credit: Facebook

Her mother, Nichole Schmidt, said that the text message was incredibly “odd,” especially since it would be bizarre for Gabby to refer to her grandfather by his first name. Three days later, her last text message sent just reading, “no service in Yosemite.”

The FBI believe that both messages were sent by Brian Laundrie, and that it would explain the timeline of when she was killed and why she stopped contact with her parents or posts on social media. It would also explain why Gabby referred to her own grandfather as “Stan,” which is how Brian would have addressed him.

Investigators also concluded that Brian Laundrie took Gabby Petito’s debit card and used it without authorization on his return trip from Wyoming back to Florida as another way to deceive police. An arrest warrant was issued on Sep. 22 with charges of bank fraud.

When Brian Laundrie was found dead in a Florida natural reserve two months later, a notebook was recovered next to his remains. Authorities reported at the time that it was soaked from being submerged in water for weeks.

Released in their final report, however, was that “a review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death.”

It is unknown what motive, if any, Brian wrote in his notebook to confess to the crime, or why he admitted to killing Gabby Petito before taking his own life.

The FBI also mentioned in closing the investigation that no other suspects were involved, and that the “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,” said FBI Agent Michael Schneider, adding that he felt the, “deepest appreciation to the public for the thousands of tips that were provided during the investigation.”

Authorities hope that the end of the investigation can bring a semblance of closure to the families of the deceased.