Skip to main content

The Hunt for Gabby Petito's Killer: Brian Laundrie

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

A national manhunt has concluded. Since the start of September, when Brian returned from a road trip full of videos and pictures with Gabby but without her! We now know she was dead a little before Sept. 1.

We know that Brian probably accidentally killed her through an argument that went physical because it had happened outside a Moab, Utah, restaurant and reported via 911. Brian had gotten physical with Gabby then and she was clearly afraid and shaken up. Perhaps Gabby's death was as simple as emotions spinning out of control with Brian and Gabby face to face as he choked her. Afterwards, in the moment, Brian panics and leaves the scene taking her credit card.

Look, up until the end, all the videos and pics showed a happy road trip from social media postings. A couple in love and due to be married. Then, things just went bad for them and she truly discovered what Brian was like. Maybe, she had told him the wedding was off. Maybe whatever fight that ensued just before her death was over something petty. In any case, there is only one suspect, Brian. It was not until late October that Brian's remains were found in Carlton Preserve in North port, FL. He had shot himself near a large pond. His remains showed a partially crushed skull, indicating a gator had to have found his body near the water and dragged it from the shore. An ugly, horrifying, end to all of it!

The Case Turns Weird

Brian returns to his North Port, FL., home on Sept. 1., without Gabby. That is the first obvious red flag that was ignored especially by his parents, or was it? No doubt they asked about the whereabouts of Gabby. Brian either lied (they broke up) or he told his parents what happened and he drove her van back. Neighbors indicate they saw Brian mowing the lawn and all seemed normal. So far, everything is under the radar. Keep in mind, Gabby was NOT reported missing until Sept. 11th, by her mother who had not heard from her.

We now know, that Brian and his parents went camping at Fort De Soto Park in St. Petersburg, some 75 miles away near Tampa. The park is huge and the first trip was from Sept. 1-3, while the second was the 6th-8th. They were registered at the gate. On the second trip, three campers registered but only two left on Sept. 8th. The De Soto park is just 1100 acres, while the Carlton Preserve in Venice, where the FBI has been searching for over a week is 25,000 acres AND is connected to via dirt roads and trails to the massive Myakka State Park. A person could hide quite awhile because not all of it is swamp.

In fact, the only reason why the FBI is wasting time at Carlton is because Brian had driven his Mustang to the park and had told his parents to pick it up. He had also taken a handgun (this was not disclosed until after his body was found). If Brian had departed the area from St. Pete, he might have been able to reach the Appalachian Trail upon reached Georgia. His parents did not report him missing until Sept 14. This was a theory of many.

Scroll to Continue

Were his parents aiding and abetting a criminal ? It certainly appeared that way when you look at the dates. They went to De Soto Park to camp between Sept. 6-8. Only his parents left the campground. Brian had at least a week before he was reported missing on the 14th. Then, another week, as the FBI wasted time on the Carlton search. Between the 8th and 14th, Brian could have easily without much concern reached the Appalachian Trial in a car within 10 hours time. Maybe one of his friends took him. The FBI did not issue an arrest warrant until after the 14th for using Gabby's credit card to withdraw $1000. All of it was conjecture at the time and some of it just wrong.

But, should the FBI be charging his parents for aiding and abetting a fugitive, even if it is their son? Even to a casual observer, the indications seem to suggest that the parents were not cooperative until after Brian's body was found. It had been there for at least a month according to the coroner not far from where Brian had parked his parent's car, and where they retrieved it after Brian had told them where it would be. His parents also did not disclose that a handgun was missing from the house. Perhaps, in the parents defense, all the non-cooperation was at the police request and their attorney. But, his parents did wait until mid-September to report Brian missing, which could have allowed Brian to travel far. In the end, Brian's skeletal remains were discovered Oct. 20 at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port (which connects to Carlton Preserve in Venice).

It remains a very tragic love affair with no resolution since both the killer and victim are both dead. No one will ever know the reason for it. A very sad "Romeo and Juliet" story.

Related Articles