The man who murdered his fiancee during a 2021 cross-country road trip exchanged text messages with a friend shortly after he returned to Florida, according to a report from the Daily Mail.
Brian Laundrie texted a man identified only by his first name Ben after the nation’s attention was grabbed by the disappearance of Gabby Petito, his 22-year-old fiancee.
Petito embarked on a summer trip across the U.S. with Laundrie, which she did not return from. Her remains were discovered September 19 in Grand Teton National Park.
Laundrie, 23, reportedly committed suicide shortly after her remains were found, the report noted.
Text messages exchanged September 4 between Laundrie and a friend named Ben, as seen by The Messenger, showed Laundrie trying to maintain a facade of normalcy.
“Trip was good,” he texted Ben. “Gab and I had fun. Tired now, gonna sleep for a week.”
The couple had been documenting their travels on a YouTube channel.
“We made a lot of content,” Laundrie texted about the trip he described as “once in a lifetime.”
Laundrie had returned to his parents’ home in Florida September 1 without Petito, and she was reported missing by her family September 11.
A notebook was later discovered in which Laundrie confessed to killing her.
“I ended her life,” he wrote. “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.”
The couple had been stopped by police in Moab, Utah, after a 911 call reported a physical altercation between them. They were separated for the night, but no charges were filed, according to the report.
Petito’s parents filed suit against the Moab City Police Department, alleging negligence in their handling of the situation. The lawsuit notes an interview with a Moab police officer, Eric Pratt, who pulled the couple over.
The officer reportedly told colleagues that Laundrie had raised “more red flags than a Chinese communist rally.” Plaintiff’s attorneys claim that statement highlights concerns about the potential danger Petito was in.
Depositions in the case were scheduled to begin last month and a jury trial is scheduled for May 2024, the Daily Mail reported.