United States District Court Chief Judge Scott Skavdahl granted federal prosecutors’ motion to dismiss the bank fraud charges against 23-year-old Laundrie, “for the reason that the Defendant is deceased,” according to a court filing late Wednesday.
Steve Bertolino, Laundrie’s family’s attorney, had no comment on Thursday.
Prosecutors made the request on Tuesday. The move, a formality, was expected following the discovery of Laundrie’s remains in late October. Authorities say he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, a 10-minute drive from his parents’ home in North Port, Florida.
Skavdahl’s response was a single page, as was the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s subsequent “Dismissal of Indictment as to Defendant Brian Christopher Laundrie with Prejudice.” “With prejudice” means prosecutors will not be able to resubmit the same indictment with the court.
Laundrie was the only person being investigated in the murder of his former fiancee, Gabby Petito, whom authorities found in September strangled and beaten at a campsite in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, north of Jackson, Wyoming.
He had been wanted on a federal warrant for allegedly using Petito’s debit cards after her death when he drove from Wyoming to Florida and then went camping with his parents, sister and her kids.
Laundrie and Petito had stayed in the Wyoming campground just days before Laundrie returned to his parents’ house – alone but driving Petito’s van. He made no public comments on her death and refused to cooperate with law enforcement before slipping away.
Fox News Digital was in the park when police found human remains and Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, uncovered a dry bag nearby.
The FBI said last week that the notebook they recovered from the scene contained passages in which Laundrie admitted to killing Petito. It’s unclear how damaged the book was, and whether they recovered it inside or outside of Laundrie’s drybag. Investigators also declined to elaborate on what he wrote, específicamente.
“A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death,” the FBI revealed Friday, roughly three months after Laundrie’s body surfaced.
Authorities also found a revolver. And days later, a group of protesters who had been demanding answers from the Laundrie parents spotted Petito’s water bottle in the same clearing.
It would be weeks before a forensic investigation on the badly decomposed remains concluded that Laundrie’s cause of death had been suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They confirmed his identity through dental records and DNA.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling 800-273-8255.
For those who don’t want to speak to a counselor, there’s also a national Crisis Text Line available 24/7 by texting “hogar” a 741741.