Brian Laundrie’s parents will not be charged in connection with Gabby Petito murder

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie (YouTube)
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie (YouTube)

The parents of Brian Laundrie will not face charges over the homicide of Gabby Petito, their lawyer has told The Independent.

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said on Friday: “To my knowledge there will be no charges.”

Roberta and Chris Laundrie had been criticised by Ms Petito’s family for remaining steadfastly silent amid intense public scrutiny as their son Brian became the subject of a nationwide FBI manhunt.

It came as the FBI revealed Laundrie had claimed responsibility for Ms Petito’s death in a message left in his notebook.

“A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms Petito’s death,” the FBI said in a statement.

An FBI investigation has concluded that Laundrie was the sole person responsible for the “tragic death of Gabby Petito” as it announced it was wrapping up its four and a half month long investigation.

“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a statement.

“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,” the FBI said.

The FBI said it while it had investigated all logical leads, “the investigation quickly focused on the last person believed to see her alive — Mr Laundrie”.

In a statement, Petito family attorney Richard Stafford thanked the FBI’s Wyoming, Denver, New York and Tampa offices, and other law enforcement agencies that assisted in the investigation.

Gabby Petito ‘s parents say facts collected by the FBI leave no doubt that she was murdered by Brian Laundrie (Instagram)
Gabby Petito ‘s parents say facts collected by the FBI leave no doubt that she was murdered by Brian Laundrie (Instagram)

“We truly appreciate the FBI’s diligent and painstaking efforts in this extremely complicated case.

“The quality and quantity of the facts and information collected by the FBI leave no doubt that Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby.”

They specifically thanked the FBI’s Victim Services Department for helping the family “navigate through the worst moments of their lives”.

FBI agents met with Ms Petito’s parents to update them on the case in Tampa on Thursday.

Gary Rider, a family friend and board member of the Gabby Petito Foundation, said it had been “a very emotional day”.

Last week, Ms Petito’s parents reached a “distribution of property” deal with the Laundrie family to get their daughter’s belongings back once they are released by the FBI.

The Laundrie family will receive Brian’s belongings, including a notebook found near his remains.

Ms Petito, 22, had been on a months-long “van-life” tour of the United States with Laundrie, when she suddenly stopped communicating with her family in late August.

Laundrie returned to his parent’s home on 1 September alone and ignored texts and phone calls from Ms Petito’s parents.

Gabby’s father Joe Petito and stepmother Tara Petito at a press conference in September (Getty Images)
Gabby’s father Joe Petito and stepmother Tara Petito at a press conference in September (Getty Images)

On 15 September, he was named as a person of interest in the disappearance of Ms Petito.

Her remains were found four days later near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

The Teton County Coroner ruled her death was a homicide by manual strangulation in October.

Laundrie, 23, was reported missing on 17 September after telling his parents he was going hiking in the Carlton Reserve near their home in North Port, Florida.

Chris and Roberta Laundrie led authorities to personal items belonging to their son Brian in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on 20 October, and law enforcement agents found his remains nearby.

At a press conference announcing the discovery, FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Tampa office, Michael McPherson, called Laundrie a “person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito” – the first time the term had been used by a law enforcement official in connection with her death.

An autopsy into Laundrie’s proved inconclusive and forensic anthropologists later confirmed he had died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

Ms Petito’s parents consistently said they felt that the Laundrie family were withholding crucial information that could help them find Brian, and get the answers they were looking for about the death of their daughter.

The Laundries’ home was besieged for weeks by protesters with loudhailers who set up makeshift memorials to Ms Petito.

Following the discovery of Brian’s remains, their attorney Mr Bertolino said the Laundries were being “tortured” in their own home.