Brian Laundrie’s parents want the FBI to hand over his notebook

Hopes linger that water-damaged notebook may provide evidence about how Gabby Petito was killed

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 04 January 2022 19:47
<p>Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie</p>

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie

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Brian Laundrie’s parents have asked the FBI to hand over anotebook that was found near their son’s skeletal remains, their attorney says.

It had been hoped the notebook, which was submerged underwater for weeks in a dry bag, may yield clues about the death of Laundrie’s girlfriend Gabby Petito.

Steven Bertolino told The Independent that Chris and Roberta Laundrie are trying to recover the notebook as part of a formal proceeding to administer their late son’s estate.

Mr Bertolino said he was also working “cordially” with Rick Stafford, an attorney representing Ms Petito’s parents, to have her belongings returned.

Brian Laundrie, 23, was found in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on 20 October, and his death was later ruled to be suicide by gunshot wound to the head.

He had been the subject of an intense month-long manhunt after Ms Petito’s remains were discovered in Wyoming on 19 September.

Law enforcement officers conducted several sweeps of the water-logged creek and neighbouring Carlton Reserve, but it wasn’t until Laundrie’s parents joined in the search in late October that the crucial breakthrough was made.

There was intense speculation at the time it was discovered that the notebook could contain a suicide note, or explain how and why Ms Petito was killed.

At the time North Port Police said the notebook had sustained water damage, but may be “salvageabale”.

It was turned over to the FBI, the lead agency in the investigation, who have been undergoing the painstaking drying process and attempting to inspect the pages for legible handwriting or imprints for the past two and a half months.

A bag containing personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie is removed from the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday morning

The Laundries have not been made aware of the contents of the notebook.

In a statement to The Independent on Tuesday, Mr Bertolino said: “The Laundries filed a formal administration proceeding to administer Brian’s Estate.

“Nicole Schmidt filed to obtain Gabby’s belongings that are in the Laundrie home or in police custody.  Rick Stafford and I are trying to work this out cordially.”

Ms Petito had been on a a “van-life” trip across the US with Laundrie when she suddenly stopped communicating with her parents in late August.

Her parents reported her as missing on 11 September, after learning that Laundrie had returned alone to his parent’s home in North Port, Florida, 10 days earlier.

Steven Bertolino says he is working ‘cordially’ with Petito attorney Rick Stafford

Laundrie was named as a person of interest on 15 September, and Ms Petito’s remains were discovered near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming days later.

He was reported missing on 17 September after telling his parents he was going hiking in the Carlton Reserve near their home in Florida.

A coroner ruled Ms Petito’s death was a homicide by manual strangulation and remains under open investigation by the FBI.

Since her death, Ms Petito’s family have established the Gabby Petito Foundation to assist missing persons cases and raise awareness about domestic violence in the United States.

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