Could Brian Laundrie’s notebook found by FBI explain what happened to him?

Criminologists speculate whether recovered notebook could contain answers.

Helen Elfer
Thursday 21 October 2021 23:12
'Bones' found at North Port reserve belong to Brian Laundrie: FBI
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Following the FBI’s announcement that a notebook of Brian Laundrie’s has been found, criminologists suggest it could contain answers about what happened to his fiancé Gabby Petito.

A number of items including a backpack and the notebook were located near human remains from the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park by investigators on Wednesday.

“Earlier today investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items, such as a backpack and notebook, belonging to Brian Laundrie,” said Tampa-based Special Agent Michael McPherson during a media conference taht afternoon, explaining: “These items were found in an area that up until recently had been underwater.”

On Thursday afternoon, the FBI confirmed the remains belonged to Mr Laundrie. It took just over 24 hours for medical examiners to match the dental records found on the skeletal remains with the missing fugitive.

The couple, who were on a cross-country road trip in the US when Petito disappeared, posted numerous pictures of their travels on social media, several of which showed notebooks and pens in the shots.

Speculation is rife over whether one of the notebooks pictured was the one found in the park, and what Mr Laundrie was using it for.

​​Criminologist Casey Jordan told CNN that it could contain a suicide note or letter giving a window into his state of mind while he’s been missing.

“That really raises the question if indeed this is Brian Laundrie and if he died by his own hand, did he take the time to write out a note of explanation, maybe even regret?” she said, adding: “Something that would give answers only to police, but Gabby’s family. If that notebook is there, there is a very good chance there could be a note.

“The public may never know the contents. I’m not sure we’ll get to know. But it would certainly indicate, especially if his parents – who have voiced their concerns he might have harmed himself or had suicidal ideations when he went into the reserve, maybe the notebook will have some answers.”

She continued: “If it doesn’t, if he hasn’t been in touch or corresponding or calling his parents in the month he’s been missing, we may never know the exact answers of what happened to Gabby and that’s going to be a very hard thing for her family to deal with.”

As the FBI explained, the items were found in an area recently covered by water. They did not release any information about the condition of the notebook nor whether the contents were still legible.

This July 2020 post from Mr Petito’s Instagram account was captioned: ‘Who Watches the Watchmen?’ He shared dozens of his own sketches to social media

Mr Laundrie was a keen artist who often shared his sketches on his Instagram account depicting gory or violent imagery. It is not known if he also kept a journal or other writings that may hold an explanation for his disappearance or an account of what happened to Petito.

Petito’s body was found in a Wyoming campsite in September, several weeks after she was reported missing. A coroner later ruled her death a homicide by strangulation, and the FBI since referred to her killing as a “murder”.

Mr Laundrie has only been named a ‘person of interest’ in her case, although he is wanted by the FBI on bank fraud charges.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone free of charge over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.