On June 24, Steve Bertolino, the Laundries' attorney, released the eight-page confession. Although parts of the document were made illegible due to the notebook's time spent underwater, WFLA pieced together a transcript. Laundrie described Petito's death as "unexpected tragedy" that occurred as the two were headed back to their car after a day spent in the national park. "Rushing back to our car trying to cross the streams of [illegible] before it got too dark to see, too cold. I hear a splash and a scream...I found her [Petito] breathing heavily, gasping [illegible]. She was freezing cold...She was so thin, had already been freezing too long...She would wake in pain...furious that I was the one waking her." Laundrie then made a choice, explaining, "I ended her life, I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted but I see now all the mistakes I made." As for his suicide, he said, "From the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn't go on without her."
After taking Petito's life, Laundrie "rushed home to spend any time [he] had left with [his] family." He also begged for people "not to make life harder" on his loved ones, arguing they lost both him and Petito.
In response to the newly released letter, Patrick Reilly, the Petitos' lawyer, told People that Laundrie's account of a "mercy killing" was "nonsense." Many agree with this assessment, given the physical and circumstantial evidence against Laundrie, including fake text messages he crafted to make it appear Petito was alive despite knowing the truth.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.