The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are conducting a massive search for Brian Laundrie after the body of his 22-year-old fiancee, Petito, was found near Grand Teton national park in Wyoming Sunday, September 19, 2021. Officials ruled her death a homicide. Her official cause of death is pending final autopsy results, The Guardian reported. Petito was reported missing 10 days after Laundrie returned home alone from a cross-country trip.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cassie Laundrie Shared Postcards Petito Sent Her Children From the Road
Petito sent letters and postcards to Cassie Laundrie’s children from her road trip with Brian Laundrie, signing the notes, “Aunt Gabby.” Cassandra Laundrie shared the messages with ABC 4.
“The rocks here are so cool!! Uncle Brian and I have seen many different rock-types, I knew there are different kinds of rocks, but I didn’t know that some are different formations, did you?” one postcard said, which appeared to be from Arches National Park. “The Rocks that are most popular in the park are called hoodoos, funny name right!”
Another letter shared her encounter with a squirrel.
“Oh my gosh! Me and Uncle Brian were sitting on a rock eating a snack after a long walk, and the fattest squirrel I’ve ever seen!!! Came right on my lap!!” another card said.
2. Petito Texted Cassandra Laundrie From the Road & Asked for Photos of Her Children Going Back to School
Petito remained in contact with Laundrie’s family at home, sending an upbeat text to Cassandra Laundrie that she shared with ABC 4.
The text, dated August 10, spoke about Cassie Laundrie’s children going back to school. She asked for pictures of them.
“We’re in arches right now so we don’t have be best WiFi, but we did send you some mail,” she wrote in the text, along with a hugging emoji.
Another text, from Petito’s phone to her mother, drew suspicions, Petito’s mom, Nichole Schmidt, told investigators, according to WFLA. Schmidt told authorities that the text on August 27, 2021, was the last communication she received.
“Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” the text said, according to a search warrant reviewed by WFLA.
Schmidt said that Stan is Gabby Petito’s grandfather, but that Petito never referred to her grandpa by his first name.
3. Cassie Laundrie Issued a Statement Sending Her Condolences to Petito’s Family
Cassie Laundrie issued a statement to ABC News after the body of Petito was found.
“Right now my husband and I would like to express our condolences and prayers to the Petito family. Gabby was a fun and loving influence to ‘the boys’ as she always referred to them. We will cherish all the time spent with her,” the statement said.
Steven Bertolino, the attorney for Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, released a brief statement after the body matching Petito’s description was found, according to FOX News.
“The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family,” the statement said.
4. Cassandra Laundrie Said Petito Was ‘Like a Sister’ & That Petito & Laundrie Always Made Up After a Fight
Cassandra Laundrie spoke to Good Morning America Friday, September 17, 2021, when the search for Petito was ongoing. Cassie Laundrie said Petito was “like a sister” and that her children loved her.
“Me and my family want Gabby to be found safe. She’s like a sister and my children love her,” she told GMA. “All I want for her is just to come home safe and sound, and for this to just be a big misunderstanding.”
She said that any time the couple would get into a fight, they would take some time to control their emotions and make up.
“Whenever they fight they’d take a little break and come back and be fine, because that’s what you do in a couple,” she said.
5. Cassandra Laundrie Saw Her Brother Twice After He Returned From the Road Trip, Officials Said
The Laundrie’s family attorney, Steve Bertolino, told WFLA 8 News that Cassandra Laundrie saw her brother twice after he returned from his trip, including during the family camping trip to Fort De Soto in Pinellas County, Florida.
“Cassie saw her brother Brian on September 1 when he stopped by her home and again on September 6 at Fort De Soto Park,” he wrote in a text, according to WFLA. “Law enforcement agencies are well aware of these dates.”
Cassandra Laundrie told Good Morning America in an earlier interview that she said she had not spoken to him.
“I haven’t been able to talk to him,” she said. “I wish I could talk to him.”
She added that she has been cooperating with authorities.
“I’ve cooperated every way that I can. I wish I had information or I would give more,” she said. “This is all I have.”
Bertolino told WFLA the Good Morning America interview was misinterpreted.
“Any prior communication by Cassie that does not reflect these dates is simply a difference of relating an answer to a question misinterpreted by Cassie or poorly posed by the inquirer,” he told WFLA.