Entertainment

Friends of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie say their relationship was ‘toxic’


Friends of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie have opened up about the ill-fated van-life couple’s relationship, describing it as turbulent, often ‘toxic’ and filled with ‘drama’ from the time they first met as teenagers. 

Petito, a 22-year-old Long Island native, was killed while on a cross-country trip with Laundrie. Her body was discovered at a campsite near Grand Teton, Wyoming, on Sunday and was positively identified on Tuesday, with the manner of death being ruled a homicide.

Speaking to People Magazine, Laundrie’s friend Ben Matula said the man’s relationship with Petito had always been volatile.

‘One minute, they’d be all over each other, the next minute, he’d be like, “We’re fighting,”‘ Matula told the outlet. ‘They always had some drama.’

Scroll down for video 

Friends of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito (pictured together) say their relationship was often ‘toxic’ and filled with ‘drama’  

Search teams fan out at Carlton Reserve park near North Port, Florida wilderness park to search for Brian Laundrie on Wednesday

Search teams fan out at Carlton Reserve park near North Port, Florida wilderness park to search for Brian Laundrie on Wednesday

The large-scale search for the missing person of interest is entering its fifth day on Thursday

The large-scale search for the missing person of interest is entering its fifth day on Thursday

Officials believe Laundrie had fled into the 24,000-acre preserve teeming with alligators and snakes after telling his parents he was going on a hike

Officials believe Laundrie had fled into the 24,000-acre preserve teeming with alligators and snakes after telling his parents he was going on a hike 

The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11

The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11

Laundrie, 23, has been named a ‘person of interest’ but not a suspect in his girlfriend’s death. Law enforcement officials in Florida, where the boyfriend lives, have spent the past four days looking for him in an alligator-infested wilderness park, where investigators say he had fled after returning home without Petito earlier this month.

The search for the missing man was set to resume on Thursday morning for a fifth day.

Matula said Laundrie’s relationship with Petito, which began when they were high school students in Blue Point, New York, always had a dark undercurrent.

‘There was always something below the surface where things weren’t 100 per cent wonderful,’ he said. 

Alyssa Chen, 23, Petito’s friend, echoed Matula’s assessment of the young couple’s relationship.

Petito, 22, is seen with Laundrie in a post dated July 29, 2021. His post is captioned: 'Barefoot hiking.' He has been named a person of interest in her homicide

Petito, 22, is seen with Laundrie in a post dated July 29, 2021. His post is captioned: ‘Barefoot hiking.’ He has been named a person of interest in her homicide 

Alyssa Chen (not pictured), Petito's friend, said her relationship with Laundrie 'had very low lows and very high highs'

The pair grew up together in Long Island

Alyssa Chen (not pictured), Petito’s friend, said her relationship with Laundrie ‘had very low lows and very high highs.’ The pair grew up together in Long Island 

‘They had times they were toxic and times where everything seemed a lot more healthy,’ Chen told People. ‘They had very low lows and very high highs. But they really seemed to love 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.”‘

Petito and Laundrie grew up together in Long Island but moved in recent years to North Port, where his parents live. Their home, about 35 miles south of Sarasota, was searched by investigators earlier this week and a Ford Mustang driven by Laundrie’s mother was towed from the driveway. 

Authorities believe Laundrie drove that car to the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve before disappearing. 

His family reported him missing on September 17, three days after he told his parents he was going on a hike.  

Laundrie’s family lawyer issued a five-word statement when Gabby’s body was found, saying: ‘May she rest in peace.’ 

The couple got into a physical altercation on August 12 in Moab, Utah, that led to a police stop for a possible domestic violence case (Petito is seen in bodycam video)

The couple got into a physical altercation on August 12 in Moab, Utah, that led to a police stop for a possible domestic violence case (Petito is seen in bodycam video) 

Police decided to separate the feuding couple for the night but no charges were filed and no serious injuries were reported

Police decided to separate the feuding couple for the night but no charges were filed and no serious injuries were reported

Petito's last known sighting was believed to have been on August 27 at the Merry Piglets restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Petito’s last known sighting was believed to have been on August 27 at the Merry Piglets restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Diners described Laundrie as acting aggressively while arguing with staff about his bill

Diners described Laundrie as acting aggressively while arguing with staff about his bill

The Laundrie house was searched on Monday by the FBI for evidence, and Brian’s parents Christopher and Roberta were questioned. 

The ongoing outdoors search for Brian includes thousands of acres of forbidding, swampy subtropical terrain replete with alligators, snakes, bobcats, coyotes, turkey, deer and many other wild creatures. There are more than 100 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, plus numerous camping areas and rivers.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office brought in a 10-person diver unit called SURF, or Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force, to perform a more specialized search for evidence.

Petito and Laundrie documented online their trip in a white Ford Transit van converted into a camper, but got into a physical altercation on August 12 in Moab, Utah, that led to a police stop for a possible domestic violence case, as seen in a widely circulated body camera footage. 

Ultimately, police there decided to separate the feuding couple for the night but no charges were filed and no serious injuries were reported.

Petito’s last known sighting was believed to have been on August 27 at the Merry Piglets restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where an ‘aggressive’ Laundrie berated wait staff during an argument over the bill. 

Fellow diners reported seeing a man matching Laundrie’s description storm out of the eatery and return four times to continue the argument. Later, a woman believed to be Petito came in to apologize for her male companion’s behavior.  

‘It seemed like they were seeing the world with the person they loved,’ Matula said of the couple’s epic road trip. ‘They were living the dream that all of us want to do. …All their friends were either still in college or searching for entry level jobs, and they’re out there killing it. I was jealous, and I know I’m not the only one. I was happy for them.’

Petito died by homicide but her exact cause of death has not been disclosed

Petito died by homicide but her exact cause of death has not been disclosed 

Gabby Petito's stepfather James Schmidt has visited the exact spot where she was killed, and created a stone cross. He laid a floral tribute

Gabby Petito’s stepfather James Schmidt has visited the exact spot where she was killed, and created a stone cross. He laid a floral tribute

Reflecting on Laundrie’s portrayal in the media, Matula added: ‘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.’ 

Petito was reported missing on September 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West. Her body was discovered Sunday at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. 

Teton County Coroner Brent Blue classified Petito’s death as a homicide — meaning her death was caused by another person — but did not disclose how she was killed pending further autopsy results. 

Laundrie is not charged with any crime but is considered a person of interest in the case.

With online sleuths and theories multiplying by the day, the FBI and police have been deluged with tips about possible Laundrie sightings. North Port police spokesperson Joshua Taylor said none have so far panned out. He also batted down rumors that Laundrie had been captured Tuesday.

‘These reports are unfortunately false. Please rest assured that when Brian is found, we will be more than happy to let everyone know,’ Taylor said said in an email.

Brian Laundrie mowed the lawn and went on family bike rides ‘like nothing bothered him’ after returning from cross-country trip alone, says neighbor 

Brian Laundrie’s neighbor has revealed that the 23-year-old mowed the lawn and went on family bike rides ‘like nothing bothered him’ after returning from the cross-country trip alone.

Charlene Guthrie, who lives across the street from the Laundrie family in North Port, Florida, told Fox News she saw Laundrie return to ‘normal life’ – all the while his girlfriend Gabby Petito was missing, possibly already dead. 

‘He mowed the lawn. Him and his mother went for a bicycle ride around the block,’ Guthrie said. 

‘I mean, everything was just normal life once he came back. 

‘And I just can’t get over the fact that they — it seemed like nothing bothered him. How can you do that?’

Laundrie returned to North Port without Petito in the couple’s campervan on September 1. Authorities were then alerted to her disappearance on September 11. 

Guthrie said the discovery of Petito’s body and Laundrie’s disappearance look ‘really, really bad for him’ and that she believes he ‘should be a suspect.’

The neighbor also hit out at Laundrie’s parents for not coming forward when their son went missing and that they ‘let him go’ in the first place.

‘I have children, and I know that you do what you can to protect your child, but, you know, that can go so far, and you gotta do the right thing eventually. You have to,’ Guthrie said.

‘[The Laundries] should have absolutely come forward now. I mean, I just… can’t believe they didn’t do something. I’m really angry now that they… let this go.

‘And that everything was so natural and they remained so normal through the whole thing, you know, while they were here, till he went on the run.’ 



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button