Look through photos of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie on Instagram and you’ll notice the doting captions and bright pictures. The two appear in a happy, healthy and loving relationship. On a surface level, you couldn’t argue this. However, lurking beneath the smiles was something more fragile and a bit darker. According to Gabby’s close friend, the relationship was manipulative. It was also toxic at times.
As the search for Brian Laundrie continues, experts are also examining his relationship with fiancé Gabby Petito. Since Petito’s remains were found, and her autopsy ruled a homicide, the world wants to know if Brian Laundrie was somehow involved in the 22-year-old’s demise.
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie set off for a four month adventure in a converted 2012 Ford transit in July. According to Yahoo! News, they were to travel the country and document their journey. The trip deviated when Brian returned to his Florida home on Sept. 1 without Gabby. Since that time, suspicious details surrounding her disappearance, and now death, captivated the nation.
In an interview with “48 Hours,” Gabby’s close friend Rose Davis spoke about the two.
Brian Laundrie Could Be Very ‘Charming’
“Brian’s very charismatic. And he always comes off as such a sweet person and just kind of, like, “I’m here,” Davis said.
His polite demeanor is illustrated in police bodycam footage. After Brian and Gabby were pulled over in Moab, Utah regarding a domestic dispute, Brian appears to be very cordial. He even jokes with police officers. Gabby, on the other hand, is emotional – almost inconsolable. She admits she slapped Brian when he locked her out of their van. He said he was trying to calm her down.
“It takes a lot for her to get her that hysterical,” Davis said. “And so, when I saw the bodycam, I knew it was more than a little argument. She’s not gonna slap him for no reason.”
This scene also troubled Gabby’s friend because of past arguments. Rose Davis said Brian could be manipulative.
“When Brian wants something, he’s gonna get it. And I don’t mean in a physical way, he’s gonna force it. He’s just gonna … I don’t want people to say I’m calling him a full manipulator, but he’ll manipulate the situation to get what he wants out of it,” Davis said.
“And, you know, he didn’t want her to go out one night with me and he stole her I.D. because you can’t get into the bar without your I.D. … and, you know, this was really upsetting to her, you know, you’re engaged. It’s not, you know, it’s not supposed to be like that.”
The Couple Plans Their Adventure
Despite these warning signs, Gabby and Brian moved together to his parents’ home in Florida. They each worked jobs in order to save money. They planned their “Van Life” adventure for a year. According to Davis, Gabby was really excited about it.
“She was just, like, ‘I wanna document this. This is so cool to be doing.’ And she just kinda — yeah, kinda like a vlogger, just let everyone know what she was up to.”
Following the couple’s altercation in Utah, police ultimately didn’t press charges. Instead, they suggested the two spend the night apart, and brought Brian to the nearby Bowen Motel. Gabby stayed with her van.
Thirteen days after this incident, she disappeared.
As details surrounding the case continue to unfold, Brian remains a missing person. His parents believe he left the home on Sept. 14 to hike in a swampy Florida nature reserve. They reported him missing on Sept. 17. His whereabouts are currently unknown.