Recovered from the bottom of a Florida swamp in January, the eight-page confession Brian Laundrie scrawled in a notebook after he killed his girlfriend Gabby Petito during a cross-country road trip is finally public.
Copies of the document were obtained by Fox on Friday, more than eight months after the notebook was found alongside Laundrie’s remains. Authorities say that weeks earlier he killed Petito at a Wyoming campground, then returned home alone to Florida without telling anyone where his missing girlfriend was.
Petito died of blunt-force trauma to the head and neck as well as manual strangulation, an autopsy showed. But, in a self-serving confession, the former “van life” influencer painted Petito’s murder as a way to take her “pain” away after she fell into a freezing creek in Wyoming and was left badly injured.
He claimed that, when he pulled her from the water at Spread Creek, she was freezing cold, soaking wet, breathing heavily, and had a bump on her forehead that was growing in size.
“Her feet hurt, her wrist hurt but she was freezing, shaking violently, while carrying her she continually made sounds of pain, laying next to her she said little lapsing between violent shakes, gasping in pain, begging for an end to her pain,” he wrote.
He claimed he tried to carry her to their car but his knees buckled out of exhaustion and shock, so he started a fire to keep her warm. He then claimed that Petito wouldn’t let him leave her side to seek help.
“I don’t know the extent of Gabby’s injurys [sic],” he wrote. “Only that she was in extreme pain. I ended her life, I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made.”
Laundrie didn’t specify how he killed Petito but the injuries he claimed she was suffering were inconsistent with Petito’s autopsy.
He claimed he killed himself “not because of a fear of punishment but rather because I cant stand to live another day without her” before asking for leniency on behalf of his family, who he immediately ran to after her death. “Please do not make life harder for my family, they lost a son and a daughter,” he wrote.
Authorities say Laundrie tried to cover his tracks after Petito's death by sending text messages between his and Petito’s phones that made it seem like she was still alive. He also kept using Petito’s debit cards.
Despite portraying their travels as blissful on YouTube, the couple had gotten into several heated, and physical, arguments while on the road, and Petito’s friends later described Laundrie as jealous and controlling.
Read the full text of the notebook confession:
I wish I was right at your side, I wish I could be talking to you right now. I’d be going through every memory we’ve made, getting even more excited for the future. I can’t live without you. I’ve lost every day we could’ve spent together. Every holiday. I’ll never get to play with [unintelligible] again. Never go hiking with TJ. I Loved you more than anything. I can’t bear to look at our photos, to recall great times because it is why I cannot go on. When I close my eyes I will think of laying on the roof of the van, falling asleep to the sight of a meteor shower at the crystal geyser. I will always love you.
If you were reading Gabs journal, looking at the photos from our life together, fliping (sic) through old cards you wouldn’t want to live a day without her. Knowing that everyday you’ll wake up without her, you wouldn’t want to wake up. I’m sorry to everyone this will affect, Gabby was the love of my life, but I know adored by many. I’m so very sorry to her family, because I love them. I’d consider her younger siblings, my best of friends … I am sorry to my family. This is a shock to them as well as a terrible greif (sic).
They loved as much, if not more than me. A new daughter to my mother, an aunt to my nei[hews (sic). Please do not make this harder for them. this occurred as an unexpected tragedy. Rushing back to our car trying to cross the streams of spread creek before it got too dark to see, to cold. I hear a splash and a scream. I could barely see, I couldn’t find her for a moment, shouted her name. I found her breathing heavily gasping my name, she was freezing cold. We had just came from the blazing hot National Parks
In Utah. The temperature had dropped to freezing and she was soaking wet. I carried her as far as I could down the stream towards the car, stumbling exhausted in shock, when my knees buckled and knew I couldn’t safely carry her. I started a fire and spooned her as close to the heat, she was so thin, had already been freezing too long. I couldn’t at the time realize that I should’ve started a fire first but I wanted her out of the cold back to the car. From where I started the fire I had no idea how far the car might be. Only
Knew it was across the creek. When I pulled Gabby out of the water she couldn’t tell me what hurt. She had a small bump on her forehead that eventually got larger. Her feet hurt, her wrist hurt but she was freezing, shaking violently, while carrying her she continually made sounds of pain, laying next to her she said little lapsing between violent shakes, gasping in pain, begging for an end to her pain. She would fall asleep and I would shake her awake fearing she shouldn’t close her eyes if she had a concussion.
She would wake in pain start the whole painful cycle again while furious that I was the one waking her. She wouldn’t let me try to cross the creek, thought like me that this fire would go out in her sleep and she’d freeze. I don’t know the extent of Gabby’s injurys (sic). Only that she was in extreme pain. I ended her life, I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked, I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.
I rushed home to spend any time I had left with my family. I wanted to drive north and let James or TJ kill me but I wouldn’t want them to spend time in jail over my mistake, even though I’m sure they would have liked to. I am ending my life not because of a fear of punishment but rather because I cant stand to live another day without her. I’ve lost out whole future together, every moment we could have cherished. Im sorry for everyones loss. Please do not make life harder for my family, they lost a son and a daughter. The most wonderful girl in the world. Gabby I'm sorry.
I have killed myself by this creek in the hopes that animals may tear me apart. That it may make some of her family happy.
Please pick up all of my things. Gabby hated people who litter.