Jump directly to the content

How mystery of Brian Laundrie notebook was solved thanks to forensic work as sleuths push for evidence to be released

FORENSIC techniques were likely used to recover Brain Laundrie's written confession from his notebook after it was submerged in water, helping to nail him as Gabby Petito's killer, an expert has claimed.

The FBI issued a statement last week confirming the 23-year-old traveler had admitted to killing his girlfriend in a suicide note - before fatally shooting himself in the head amid a police investigation.

Brian Laundrie was pictured with a green journal in posts on InstagramCredit: Instagram/Gabby Petito
The van lifer admitted to killing Gabby in his notebook which was submerged in water before cops found itCredit: Social Media - Refer to source

The journal used by Brian was discovered by his body at the Carlton Reserve on October 20 last year.

In the statement, the agency claimed that "a review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death."

Both families had to wait weeks for answers, but forensics expert Jennifer Shen, retired San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory Director, says this was necessary as there was "no room for error" in recovering the writings.

"When the evidence containing Brian's phone, gun, and notebook were found, it seemed inevitable we would finally have answers in this case," she exclusively told The Sun.

"All evidence found had significant forensic value. Cell phones/laptops etc., are often excellent investigative tools, as people tend to communicate through these devices. 

"If there was going to be proof Brian attempted to cover up his crime, his electronic devices were going to tell that tale. 

"The notebook was an incredible recovery, and did, in fact, give investigators the conclusive information they needed to close this case. 

"Most evidence that has been subjected to extreme weather conditions is harder to analyze. The notebook certainly would fall into this category. 

"However, any protection afforded the notebook from packaging to the pages sticking together and protecting the writings can be exploited by forensic techniques."

Shen continued: "These techniques can enhance faint or indented writing, making this evidence very powerful. 

"It is often frustrating for those following a case to wait for answers. Testing of this nature can be very time-consuming, sometimes taking weeks to months, with no room for error."

The FBI also revealed that after 22-year-old Gabby died, there were several messages exchanged between her mobile and Brian's phone.


"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," the statement read.

It was also confirmed that Brian's parents will not be charged over Gabby's murder as her family attorney said there's "no doubt" her fiance killed the vlogger.

The agency said that their investigation "did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito."

On December 8, Chris and Roberta Laundrie filed a petition in Sarasota County court to be granted access to their son's belongings, which includes two bank accounts containing $20,000, according to the filing.

Internet sleuths have pushed for the notebook and other evidence to be released after the case garnered international intention.

"The petition is simply to administer his estate, which is primarily the bank account," Bertolino told Fox News.

"The return of property by law enforcement is separate."


Gabby's remains were found in a campsite near Wyoming's Grand Teton Nation Park on September 19.

An autopsy found that she had been strangled to death by a "human force" between three and four weeks earlier.

Brian was never officially named a suspect in her death while he was alive, but was the sole person of interest in her disappearance.

A warrant was issued for his arrest after it emerged he spent $1K on Gabby's card after her death to get back to Florida.

He went missing days after his return and the FBI launched a weeks-long manhunt before his remains were discovered.

The couple had last been seen together in a restaurant in Wyoming where staff said there had been an argument about them paying the bill.

It came only days after they were stopped by cops in Moab, Utah, after a witness said Brian hit Gabby in the street on August 12.

In bodycam footage, Brian is heard saying that he would not have money to stay in a motel for the night as cops asked the couple to separate.

Brian Laundrie timeline

Brian Laundrie has not been seen since the morning of September 13. Here is a timeline of Laundrie's latest whereabouts:

  • July 2021: Brian Laundrie and his fiancé Gabby Petito leave for a grip across the country. The couple visit numerous national parks across the way.
  • August 12: Police in Utah respond to an incident involving the couple. The bodycam footage is not released for another month but it shows a visibly upset Gabby talking to police after reports of a domestic violence incident outside a grocery store.
  • August 24: Gabby is seen leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Laundrie.
  • September 1: Laundrie returns to his home in North Port, Florida without Gabby.
  • September 6: Laundrie joins his family on a camping trip about 75 miles from their home in North Port.
  • September 11: Gabby's family reports her missing.
  • September 13: Laundrie leaves home to go hiking in Carlton Reserve, Florida. His family had initially said he departed on September 14, but revised their timeline weeks later.
  • September 15: Laundrie is named a person of interest in the case of Gabby.
  • September 16: Bodycam footage is released regarding the incident between Gabby and Laundrie.
  • September 19: The FBI announces a body found at a Wyoming national park is believed to be that of Gabby's.
  • September 23: The FBI issued a warrant for Laundrie's arrest claiming he "used unauthorized debit cards after Gabby Petito's death."
  • September 26: A funeral is held for Gabby in New York.
  • September 27: Dog the Bounty Hunter announces he will lend a hand and help search for Laundrie.
  • September 28: Gabby's family held an emotional press conference as the search for Laundrie continued.
  • October 5: Laundrie's sister, Cassie, appeared on Good Morning America and urged her brother to come forward.
  • October 7: Laundrie's father, Chris Laundrie, assisted law enforcement in the search to find his son.
  • October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.  
  • October 20: Laundrie's personal items were found near the Myakkahatchee Creek Park trail in Florida. The medical examiner was called to the scene to investigate.
  • October 21: Reports stated the human remains found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park were bones.
  • October 21: The FBI confirmed the remains found have been identified as Laundrie's.
  • January 21, 2022: The FBI released its final investigative statement on Gabby's case. The statement said, "The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito."
The FBI launched a giant manhunt after Brian went missing following Gabby's disappearanceCredit: Splash
Gabby was found strangled to death after a cross-country trip with her fianceCredit: Refer to Caption
Internet sleuths want the notebook to be released publicly after the case made worldwide newsCredit: Instagram
Brian Laundrie admitted to killing Gabby Petito in ‘suicide note’ in notebook