HomeNewsGabby Petito Case: Why Were Brian Laundrie Fraud Charges Dropped?

Gabby Petito Case: Why Were Brian Laundrie Fraud Charges Dropped?

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Earlier this week, a Wyoming district court dropped the fraud charges against Brian Laundrie, who supposedly used Gabby Petito’s debit cards after her death.

According to The Sun, Laundrie allegedly spent $1,000 on Petito’s cards after murdering her at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. He used the debit cards to travel from Wyoming back to his family’s home in Florida. A few weeks later, Brian Laundrie reportedly took his own life at the Carlton Reserve near his family’s home.

Laundrie admitted to killing his girlfriend in a notebook found by the FBI near his remains. The authorities recently deciphered the water-logged notebook. And they revealed earlier this week that Laundrie confessed to killing Petito. Until then, he’d been the main person of interest in the Gabby Petito investigation.

The only charge filed against Brian Laundrie during the investigation was for fraud. But Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Sprecher filed for the fraud charges to be dropped on Tuesday because Laundrie died. Per The Sun, Chief Judge Scott Skadahl agreed to dismiss the charges for the “reason that the defendant is deceased.”

At this time, the Laundries’ attorney, Steven Bertolino, says he has no comment about the dropped fraud charges.

Forensic Experts Reveal What They Learned From Brian Laundrie’s Notebook

The authorities combed through several areas around the country looking for Brian Laundrie after his family reported him missing in mid-September 2021. By then, his girlfriend Gabby Petito had been missing for a week or so, with her body found on Sept. 19. Authorities found Laundrie’s body on Oct. 20, in an environmental park near his family’s home in Florida.

Along with the remains, investigators discovered his bag, revolver, cell phone, and water-logged notebook. By the time they found the body, Brian Laundrie had been dead for weeks, and the area had flooded over many times. But the authorities still managed to decipher the notebook.

“The notebook was an incredible recovery, and did, in fact, give investigators the conclusive information they needed to close this case,” Jennifer Shen, a retired crime lab director, told The Sun.

“Any protection afforded the notebook from packaging to the pages sticking together and protecting the writings can be exploited by forensic techniques,” Shen continued. “These techniques can enhance faint or indented writing, making this evidence very powerful.”

The crime lab director added, “It is often frustrating for those following a case to wait for answers. Testing of this nature can be very time-consuming, sometimes taking weeks to months, with no room for error.”

The Petito family released a statement earlier this week about the confession. They thanked the FBI and Victim Services Department for their assistance. The family also said the evidence left “no doubt that Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby.”