KEY POINTS

  • Experts believe Laundrie's notebook may contain a suicide note
  • A former FBI deputy director said the notebook could also reveal Laundrie's feelings about Petito
  • The notebook was found inside the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve

Experts believe that a personal item found alongside the body of 23-year-old Brian Laundrie on Wednesday could be the key to solving the cause of his death and that of his 22-year-old fiancée, Gabby Petito.

The FBI and the North Port Police Department on Wednesday found Laundrie’s skeletal remains in the Carlton Reserve in Florida following a month-long search. The body, which had previously been submerged underwater, was found alongside personal items belonging to Laundrie, including a backpack and a notebook.

Casey Jordan, a criminologist, said he believes the notebook could contain Laundrie’s suicide note as well as an explanation of the events that led to Petito’s death.

“That really raises the question if indeed this is Brian Laudrie and if he died by his own hand, did he take the time out to write out a note of explanation, maybe even regret?” Jordan told CNN. “If that notebook is there, there is a good chance there could be a note. Something that would give answers to not only police but Gabby’s family.”

Senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe also said that the notebook could shed some light on a possible motive for Petito’s death in Wyoming.

“In terms of understanding Laundrie’s motive, his feelings about Petito, that notebook could shed a lot of light on those issues,” McCabe said during an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

The discovery of Laundrie’s body on Wednesday came more than a month after authorities first launched a search operation for the sole person of interest in the murder of Petito.

Laundrie and Petito had embarked on a cross-country trip together when the 23-year-old came home alone in his fiancée’s car on Sept. 1. Authorities discovered Petito’s body in Teton County on Sept. 19.

An initial autopsy ruled Petito’s death as a homicide. A final autopsy released Oct. 12 said Petito died of “manual strangulation or throttling” and was killed about three to four weeks before being found.

Laundrie’s remains were found approximately two to three miles from the entrance of the nearly 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.

Brian Laundrie
Brian Laundrie in an image from a police bodycam released by the Moab City Police Department in Utah. Moab City Police Department / Handout
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