After Brian Laundrie‘s remains were discovered, there was a very real concern we would never get answers about the murder of Gabby Petito. One of the only avenues of hope is the notebook the fugitive had with him — that maybe he had written down his own account of events, anything he knew.
Unfortunately when his father, Christopher Laundrie, found the fugitive’s dry bag, the book happened to be outside of it — possibly ruined by the water. (Don’t get us started on how suspicious and infuriating it is that a family member was allowed to handle the evidence like that.) It remains to be seen whether the soaked pages will be salvageable, but it turns out there is another possibility for answers from Brian himself.
The FBI is currently combing through the late 23-year-old’s “digital footprint” — his internet browsing history, social media activity, emails, phone calls, text messages, everything — according to NewsNation reporter Brian Entin, who has been covering the case up close from North Port, Florida. Laundrie’s IG page was recently taken down; we assumed it was his family’s doing, but perhaps that was the FBI’s call? Per The Independent, Entin says once the case is closed, the public will learn much of what they find:
“I think the FBI knows a lot of those questions and they will be resolved. If they close the case those documents will be available through public record searches.”
He believes even if the feds can’t definitively say what happened, they may still release any findings that connect Laundrie to the crime, just to communicate to the public that this is well and truly over. He explains:
“I think that would calm the public down and give the Petito’s some kind of closure… If they don’t do that, there’s technically a chance that there’s still a murderer out there.”
Laundrie’s digital footprint is likely to answer some big questions. There has long been suspicion some of Gabby’s final messages weren’t really sent by her. And of course his cell phone data should allow authorities to track his movements much more precisely.
In case you’re wondering how the phone didn’t end up in the swamp with the notebook, Brian never had it on him. Way back in September, the Laundries’ family lawyer Steven Bertolino told Entin that Brian had left his phone at home, and that the FBI had it.
There’s only one problem with all this — and that’s which phone he was talking about.
If you recall, there was a report from TMZ that after Brian got home from his road trip — with the van but no Gabby — he went and purchased a new cell phone. Not a replacement, mind you — he started a whole new account. That was just before he disappeared. Bertolino confirmed the report and also claimed it was that phone that he had left in his parents’ home:
“ phone was purchased on Sept. 4, 2021, and Brian opened an account with AT&T for that phone. … Brian left that phone at home the day he went for a hike in the preserve on Sept. 14, 2021, and the FBI now has that phone.”
This was before the Laundries changed their story and said he left for his hike on September 13. You know, because that’s the type of thing you forget.
The fact the FBI have the brand new phone and not the one he had his whole trip with Gabby has led many to speculate the new phone was a “burner phone.” Whether that would mean he had destroyed the other one or kept it secret, we have no idea.
So yeah, unfortunately, we could be back to square one on that score.
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