Statement Analysis®

Did Brian Laundrie mercifull kill Gabby Petito?

I have had several people ask me to look at Brian Laundrie's claim that he killed his girlfriend Gabby Petito because she had suffered an accidental life-threatening injury. The background to the story is that in June 2021, Gabby and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, went on a cross-country road trip. They documented their travels on YouTube. Towards the end of August, Gabby stopped communicating with her mother. At that time, it was believed the couple was in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

On September 1, Laundrie returned home to North Port, FL by himself. A couple of weeks go by, Gabby was still missing and Laundrie's parents told the authorities Brian had disappeared. On September 19, Gabby's remains were found in Teton County, WY. The police then amplified their search for Laundrie. On October 20, Laundrie's remains were found in Florida's Carlton Reserve. Near his body were some of his personal items. This included a backpack and a notebook. In the notebook, Laundrie claimed that while in Wyoming, Gabby suffered a serious injury. He killed Gabby to end her suffering. Not wanting to live without her, he then later killed himself.

The note Laundrie wrote consists of eight pages. The notebook appears to be a smaller notebook maybe 4 x 5 inches in diameter. In the first two pages, Laundrie talked about how he wished he could be at Gabby's side. How he cannot live without Gabby. He expresses how sorry he is to her family and his family. How this was an unexpected tragedy. Keep in mind, even if he maliciously killed her, these can all be truthful statements. On page three, he begins to tell us what happened. Here is his complete statement about the incident.

"Rushing back to our car trying to cross the streams of spread creek before it got too dark to see, to [sic] cold."

The first thing we notice is that he didn't tell us who was rushing back. He didn't say, "We were rushing back" or "Gabby and I were rushing back." Prior to this statement, he used the pronoun I nineteen times. Here, we have no pronouns. We cannot believe he and Gabby were rushing back to their car unless he tells us that. This is a strong indication he is making up this portion of his statement.

The word rushing is in the present tense as well as the word trying. Had he used the past tense verb were as in "We were," that would place the sentence in the past tense. When a statement is coming from memory, it will all be in the past tense as the person recalls what happened.

The word before tells us that it was not yet too dark or not yet too cold. This will be important later on in his statement.

"I hear a splash and a scream."

Here Laundrie clearly used a present tense verb. If his story was coming from memory, he would have said, "I heard a splash and a scream." Present tense language is a sign the person is making up this portion of their statement.

Laundrie said he heard a "splash and a scream." Order is important. The first thing he heard was a splash. Then he heard Gabby scream. While this is possible, most people would probably report they first heard the victim scream (the victim falling into the water) then they heard a splash.

"I could barely see, I couldn’t find her for a moment, shouted her name."

Laundrie stated he "could barely see." Presumably, this is because it was dark outside. However, earlier he said, they were rushing to their car "before it got too dark." This means it was dark but not too dark. Too dark for what? Too dark to see? He seems to have contradicted himself. We must keep in mind that he did state he could see but "barely." However, if the two of them were together and were attempting to cross the creek together, it would have to be very dark not to see the person around you fall into the creek.

He wants us to believe he shouted her name but he stops short of saying that. This is because the pronoun I is missing. He didn't say, "I 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."

There are a lot of details that are missing. He doesn't tell us where he found Gabby. He acts as if they were a hundred yards apart and he has to go searching for her.

If you fell into a mountain stream, you would probably find the water to be very cold. If you sat in the water for a short time, you could become "freezing cold." However, his statement, "The temperature had dropped to freezing" seems to contradict his earlier statement they were rushing back to their car before it got "to [sic] cold."

"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."

Earlier Laundrie said, "Rushing back to our car." Now he refers to it as "the car." He no longer takes possession of their car. Does this indicate deception? Maybe and maybe not. We would expect him to continually refer to it as "our car." There is a reason why he changed his language and now called it "the car." It is possible at this point in time Gabby is deceased. Therefore, she no longer shares ownership of their car.

Laundrie said he was "in shock." There are two types of emotions: short-term and long-term. Short-term emotions such as being startled do not last very long and occur at the peak of the incident. If you opened a door and someone was standing there, it may startle you. After you realized this person was not a threat, you would no longer be startled.

Long-term emotions such as being in shock have a longer affect and surface after the incident is over and the person has time to reflect on what happened or could have happened. If you were driving through a neighborhood and a child ran in front of your car, you would immediately take action to avoid hitting the child. The incident is usually so overwhelming the long-term emotions are suppressed. Once you get home and think about what could have happened, you may start to experience some long-term emotions.

When deceptive people place long-term emotions in their story, they often put them where they think they should be—at the peak of the incident. However, long-term emotions usually arise later on after the incident is over. Laundrie's emotion of being in shock appears to be close to the peak of the incident. Gabby falls, he finds her, he is carrying her and now he is in shock. Later he will tell us he built a fire and cuddled her. That is when I would expect the long-term emotions to kick in.

"When my knees buckled and knew I couldn't safely carry her." He would have shown more commitment to his statement if he used the pronoun I; "When my knees buckled and I 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."

Again, he would have shown more commitment to his statement if he used the pronoun she; "she had already been freezing too long."

Rarely can a person honestly say, "I have no idea." Most people have an idea or an opinion on just about everything. Some people will use this phrase to withhold information. Others will use this phrase not because they are being deceptive but because they don't want to give an opinion. Laundrie may not have known the exact distance they were from the car but he should have had an idea.

He continued to refer to it as "the car" and not "our car."

"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."

Laundrie provided some details that were missing earlier in his statement. We now know how Gabby got out of the water. The problem is, this portion of his statement is out-of-order. If his statement was coming from memory, everything should be in sequential order. The incident has a beginning which leads up to the end of the incident. Mentioning pulling Gabby out of the water at this point in his story is an indication this portion of his story is not coming from memory.

He seems to again contradicted himself; "She couldn't tell me what hurt" vs. "Her feet hurt, her wrist hurt." It is possible there is a time gap between these statements but he does not tell us that.

"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."


We find plenty of deception in his story that Gabby was running to the car and fell into the creek. He didn't tell us who was rushing to the car. He used present tense language when he said he heard a "splash and a scream." He said he could barely see her even though it wasn't too dark. He also had an out-of-order statement as well as some additional missing pronouns. It has been documented that during their trip, they had some arguments. More than likely, they had another argument and Laundrie struck her seriously injuring her. The autopsy showed she died from strangulation.

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