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Brian Laundrie Explained Why He Killed Gabby Petito In Notebook Found By His Body

Brian Laundrie claimed that he killed Gabby Petito after he says she fell in a cold creek, possibly hit her head and was shaking with cold.

By Gina Tron
The Gabby Petito Case, Explained

The lawyer representing the family of Brian Laundrie has released the notebook in which he discussed his girlfriend Gabby Petito’s death.

"I ended her life," pages from the notebook, which were retrieved near Laundrie’s body, read. "I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock."

Laundrie’s remains were found in October of 2021 in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida after he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The FBI stated in January that he took responsibility for Gabby’s death in the notebook.

Weeks earlier, Gabby was killed in August during a cross-country trek with Brian to visit the nation’s national parks. The pair had been traveling in a converted camper van but, on Sept. 1, Brian returned to Florida in the van without his 22-year-old fiancée. Brian refused to cooperate with investigators after Gabby's family reported her missing on Sept. 11 and then disappeared himself, days before Gabby’s body was discovered on Sept. 19.

She was found, strangled to death, in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

Lawyer Steven Bertolino, who represents the Laundrie family, released images of the notebook after the FBI released personal items of both Petito and Laundrie’s, according to a statement provided to Oxygen.com. 

“I would like to share with the public the note that the FBI alluded to when they said on January 21, 2022 that Brian claimed responsibility for the death of Gabby Petito,” he stated. He said he will not comment further, citing legal proceedings but the suicide note that he states are “Brian’s words.” 

In the entry, provided to Oxygen.com by Bertolino, Laundrie claimed that he killed Petito after she supposedly injured herself while hiking near a creek.

“When [I] pulled Gabby out of the water, she couldn’t tell me what hurt,” he said. “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.”

He claimed that “between violent shakes” and while “gasping in pain,” she was “begging for an end to her pain.”

Laundrie's description of Gabby's symptoms before he strangled her to death are similar to those of a person from hypothermia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is not a fatal condition.

Brian Laundrie notebook

Laundrie suggested that he'd planned to die by suicide shortly after the murder, but decided to spend time with his family first.

He said he chose to take his life near a creek where he was found in “hopes that animals may tear me apart. That it may make some of her family happy.”

Earlier this year, Gabby’s father Joseph Petito, her mother Nichole Schmidt and their respective spouses filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Laundrie’s parents attempted to help their son flee justice knowing that he'd killed Petito. They are seeking $30,000 in damages for "extreme and outrageous conduct” from Christopher and Roberta Laundrie.

"Please do not make life harder for my family," Laundrie wrote in his note.

He ended it by saying, "“Please pick up all of my things. Gabby hated people who litter.”