The death of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old who went missing while on a cross-country journey with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, shocked the nation.
Alyssa Chen, a friend of Petito’s, told People that what her social media followers may have seen as a picture-perfect relationship online was actually disguising deeper concerns.
Chen described the couple’s on-again, off-again relationship as “harmonious” when they were getting along, but “tumultuous” when they weren’t.
After dating for a few years in high school, “they had moments they were poisonous and others where things looked a lot more healthy,” she said of the couple. “The lows were extremely low and the highs were extremely high. But they seemed to have a solid connection.”
Petito’s corpse was discovered in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on September 21, and authorities have subsequently established that her death was a murder. Her death was determined to be the result of a strangling.
One month later, its remains of Brian were discovered in Tampa, Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. Suicide by self-inflicted gunshot to the head was ruled to be the cause of death.
According to his lawyer Steve Bertolino, Chris, and Roberta Laundrie have been notified that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide. There is still a deep sense of loss for Chris and Roberta as they await the results of the investigation.
More than a week after Laundrie came home in their 2012 Ford Transit van on September 1, Petito was reported missing.
During a “court-authorized search warrant” in North Port, Florida, on September 20, FBI officers searched the Laundrie residence.
TJ Schmidt, Petito’s brother, uploaded a photo of his sister in front of an angel-wings mural on September 19 and said, “I don’t even know what to say. I’m speechless.” I’m completely stumped. Justice for Gabby has broken my heart.
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Scroll through the gallery below for details on Gabby and Brian’s relationship.
HOT AND COLD
“One minute, they’d be all over each other, the next minute, he’d be like, ‘We’re fighting,’” Laundrie’s friend Ben Matula told People. “They always had some drama.”
“There was always something below the surface where things weren’t 100 percent wonderful,” he explained to the publication. “The guy who he’s being made out to be isn’t the guy I knew … But then I have to look at what’s going on and realize that he did some stuff that seems like it was shady — seems like maybe he wasn’t on the up and up. And because he did that stuff, a girl might be dead and he might be in trouble.”
Chen said the couple had moments where they seemed like a great match for each other.
“When things were good, you’d be like, ‘Why can’t I have a relationship like that?’ When they were bad, you’d be like, ‘Oh my God, just break up and spare yourself from the drama and everyone else from having to hear about it,’” she explained.
MONTHS LEADING UP
Davis later discussed some incidents that made her suspicious of Laundrie in another interview with People published on September 24.
“Honestly, it seemed like a jealousy problem, which I understood because, you look at Brian and then you look at Gabby and you’re like, ‘Gabby, you could have anyone in this entire world,’” Petito’s friend explained, admitting she previously told her mom that he was “weird” and that something “was off” about him.
Davis called Laundrie a “sociopath,” alleging that he liked to monitor Petito’s whereabouts and wasn’t happy when she got a job working 50 hours a week at a Taco Bell before their cross-country trek.
“He could keep an eye on her at Publix,” Davis said of their last job together, accusing Laundrie of being controlling. “He didn’t want her to work, and she did. And he was mad about it. And he always tried to get what he wanted, and he did, because he wanted the van life and he rushed to that so that she wasn’t going to be able to work anymore.”
An attorney of the Laundrie family did not immediately respond to In Touch’s request for comment regarding Davis’ interview.
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