Brian Laundrie confession claims Gabby Petito’s death was mercy killing

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 12:36 AM CDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The confession letter written in a notebook found near the remains of Brian Laundrie in a Florida reserve has been made public. The attorney for Gabby Petito’s family is very concerned over the release.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, her 23-year-old fiancé, were on a cross-country journey last year, documenting the trip on social media, when the former suddenly disappeared on Aug. 25, 2021. Brian Laundrie returned home alone to North Port, Florida, with his fiancée’s vehicle.

In September, Gabby Petito’s body was found in a remote area in a national park in Wyoming. The cause of death was ruled to be strangulation.

Brian Laundrie disappeared Sept. 17, 2021. His remains were eventually found in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park near his home, and the cause of death was ruled as a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A notebook near his body contained a confession letter, in which he claims Gabby Petito’s death was a mercy killing after she suffered a head injury in a fall, WWSB reports. He wrote that she was in pain and he thought the killing was “merciful.”

“Please do not make life harder for my family,” Brian Laundrie wrote. “They lost a son and a daughter. The most wonderful girl in the world. Gabby I’m sorry.”

A civil lawsuit currently underway alleges Christopher and Roberta Laundrie knew their son had killed Gabby Petito but said nothing and were conspiring to help him flee. It asks for damages for pain and suffering, accusing the couple of acting “with great malice or great indifference to the rights of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt.”

The suit also contends that the Laundries concealed that their son had confessed to the murder from investigators and Gabby Petito’s parents while the search for her was ongoing, intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino released Brian Laundrie’s eight-page confession letter in which he admitted to being responsible for Gabby Petito’s death. Initially, he released the letter to Fox News but also provided a copy to WWSB.

In a statement, Bertolino wrote, “Today the Petito family attorney, Patrick Reilly, and myself met with the FBI in Tampa to sort through and take possession of the personal items that belonged to Gabby and Brian. This was a previously agreed upon exchange to enable both the Petitos and the Laundries to receive what belonged to their respective children.

“As part of this return of property in FBI custody I was given Brian’s notebook. 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. Although I have chosen to release this letter as a matter of transparency I will not be commenting further as there are still proceedings pending in Court. These are Brian’s words.”

Patrick Reilly, attorney for the Petito family, reached out to WWSB saying he was shocked that within a half-hour of meeting at the FBI’s office, the letter was released to the media. Only three people - himself, Schmidt and Bertolino - had been given a copy of the confession letter, Reilly said.

“We were shocked to learn that within a half-hour’s time after we left the FBI office in Tampa the letter had been released. It was not released not by the Petitio family or on their behalf,” Reilly said.

Laundrie’s last request was for investigators to pick up his belongings.

“Gabby hated people who litter,” he wrote in ending the letter.

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