For several tense days last summer, the world held its collective breath as investigators searched for Gabby Petito, a missing 22-year-old woman who disappeared while traveling the country in a van with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.
Sadly, the Petito family’s worst fears were confirmed on September 19, 2021, when Gabby’s body was found in Bridger-Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The discovery gave way to several more weeks of frantic police work, as authorities attempted to locate Laundrie, who was suspected of Petito’s murder.
After Laundrie’s skeletal remains were discovered in Florida the following month, his suicide was taken as a grim confirmation that he was indeed the killer.
But the 24-year-old’s death also looked as though it would deny closure to the Petito family, who would now be left wondering about the final hours of Gabby’s life.
Now, however, the FBI has revealed to the public that "written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death" were discovered among his remains.
"All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case," FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider told the press.
"The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito."
Schneider concluded by thanking the public for their tips and assistance during the manhunt for Laundrie.
"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 investigator said.
"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."
Schneider indicated that this will be the FBI’s final public update on the Petito-Laundrie case, which has been making global headlines ever since Petito was reported missing in September of last year.
While investigators received reports of Laundrie sightings all over the US, they focused their search on the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park near his family’s home in North Port, Florida.
After receiving assistance from Laundrie’s parents, investigators discovered his remains in October.
One month later, on November 23, a medical examiner in Sarasota, Florida confirmed that Laundrie had passed away of a self-infliced gunshot wound.
Naturally, there are still unanswered questions surrounding the deaths of these two young people, whose videos documenting their travels had earned them a sizable following on YouTube.
While past domestic violence incidents indicate that their relationship was a volatile one, we’ll likely never know exactly what transpired on that fateful day in Wyoming, when choked the life from a cheerful young woman who was beloved by all who knew her.
Hopefully, Gabby’s loved ones can find some solace in the closing of this months-long investigation into their’s daughter’s tragic death.
But while many of their questions have now been answered, the pain of losing Gabby at such a young age and in such a horrific fashion will no doubt linger for many years to come.