As the investigation into slain hiker Gabby Petito’s death draws sustained national news coverage, crowds of protesters have begun to converge on the house of Petito’s former boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.
One of those protesters, Marissa Zdazinsky, 46, of Hershey, Pennsylvania, has drawn criticism recently. Zdazinsky left a laundry basket filled with cleaning supplies at the makeshift shrine to Petito that her fans have put up outside the Laundries’ house.
Now Zdazinsky has given her side of the story to The Sun after some slammed her deliberate ploy as tacky and disrespectful to Petito.
Protester Airs Her Views on Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie
Zdazinsky spent three days in front of the Laundrie family’s North Point, Florida home along with other protesters. She told The Sun she wanted to be “Gabby’s voice.” And so she came up with the idea to leave the laundry basket there.
The basket contained laundry detergent, bleach, a Monster energy drink and a wooden “Laundry” sign with “Dirty Laundrie come clean” written on it.
“The laundry basket and its contents that I placed was in front of the Laundrie family’s home as a concrete message to them,” she said. “It is symbolic of their failure to ‘come clean’ with the truth.”
But then pictures of the laundry basket appeared on Fox News’ website and on Twitter. And some Internet users argued it was an inappropriate gesture to include at the makeshift memorial to Petito.
“Don’t encourage this behavior, please!” one commenter wrote. “This is tasteless and dishonorable to have next to Gabby’s memorial.”
But Zdazinsky was unrepentant. She called the Laundries “selfish” and insisted that she’s only heard good things from people about her laundry basket.
“I want everyone to know that I meant well,” she told The Sun. “And I mean what I say, I stand by it. Everything I said and everything I did, I did because I want this to end for Gabby’s family’s sake.”
Search Continues for Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito went missing while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. The two were making their way westward in a white Ford converted camper van. Since Petito’s disappearance, evidence has emerged that the couple’s relationship grew strained during their trip – for example, police stopped them in Moab, Utah after a 9-1-1 caller reported a domestic disturbance between them.
Petito’s final social media post went up on Aug. 25. Sometime between then and September, she and Laundrie were separated – it’s not clear under what circumstances – and Laundrie made his way back to his parents’ house in Florida alone, arriving Sept. 1. Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11. In the interim, Laundrie lawyered up and refused to speak to the Petitos or authorities about his former girlfriend’s disappearance.
Petito’s body was discovered in Teton-Bridger National Forest in late September. The Teton County coroner ruled it a homicide. But shortly before her body turned up, Laundrie himself disappeared. His parents waited at least three days after he went for a hike and never came back to report his absence to authorities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now obtained a warrant for Laundrie’s arrest. But they’re struggling to find him. Many people have called in tips and Dog the Bounty Hunter has joined the hunt. But as of now, the search continues.