Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie: A tragic love laid bare under social media spotlight
After weeks of desperate searching, 22-year-old Gabby Petito's body was found at a campsite in Wyoming by police officials. Meanwhile, her fiance Brian Laundrie, who was declared a 'person of interest' in the case, is still missing since his family reported his disappearance. However, some social media users have claimed that Laundrie had been reportedly spotted in Baker, Florida around 6 am. A deer camera of a man named Sam Bass in Baker picked up the footage of a person resembling Brian Laundrie. This happened hours before FBI surrounded Laundrie's parents' home with a search warrant on September 20.
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito, who had been engaged since last year, set out on a cross-country road trip together on July 2, 2021. Driving a 2012 Ford Transit, the couple started their journey from Petito's hometown in Blue Point, New York. However, nearly two months after that, Petito was reported missing by her family while Brian Laundrie secretly returned to his parents' home in North Port, Florida, in the same Ford Transit van.
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Both Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie are avid travelers which perhaps explains why they decided to embark on a cross-country road trip. The duo actively shared glimpses from their travels on their Instagram accounts. In fact, they even started the YouTube channel Nomadic Statik together for documenting their journey.
Petito and Laundrie had been high school sweethearts, who met each other as teenagers in New York. Both of them attended the Bayport Blue Point High School in Long Island, New York. However, it is uncertain whether they actually dated during high school or reconnected after graduating.
In 2019, Petito was working as a pharmacy technician for a while when she started going out with Brian Laundrie. The pair started dating around March 2019 and got engaged more than a year later in July 2020.
Two years ago, Petito had reportedly moved in with Laundrie in his parents' home in North Port, Florida. From the statements shared by Brian's sister Cassie and Gabby's mother Nicole Schmidt, it can be assumed that Gabby was a favorite in her fiance's family. In fact, Brian's mother Roberta Laundrie treated her like her own daughter.
According to both their Instagram updates, Laundrie probably popped the question on July 4, 2020, and Gabby accepted his proposal. He shared a photo of them with the caption, "My biggest fear is that one day I’ll wake up and it will have all been a dream, because that is what every second has felt like since the moment we found each other. Till death do us part or until I wake up, I’m so happy the answer was yes, Love you hunny."
Gabby also posted the update in her own Instagram, saying, "Brian asked me to marry him and I said yes! @bizarre_design_ you make life feel unreal, and everyday is such a dream with you 🤍."
They started out on their trip soon afterward and documented the journey extensively between July 4 and August 25. They reportedly traveled through Kansas, Colorado and Utah, where they are believed to have stayed the longest.
Though they appeared to be the perfect couple, insider sources have revealed that they were not in a happy relationship. A domestic violence case was reported about the couple in Moab, Utah on August 12, when a local police officer found Gabby to be crying hysterically. His bodycam footage showed Brian Laundrie slapping and hitting Gabby, while the cop deemed their relationship to be "toxic".
Gabby Petito's best friend Rose Davis also described their relationship as "problematic" and noted that Brian was jealous and possessive. He was also described to be charismatic but manipulative. It is believed that he might have had some mental health issues as he "would hear things and hear voices and wouldn't sleep."
Investigation is still ongoing as the search for Brian Laundrie is on while Gabby Petito's autopsy results are awaited.