Gabby Petito and a 'chubbier' Brian Laundrie seen in high school yearbook pics
Close to two weeks after the corpse of Gabby Petito was discovered, the search for Brian Laundrie — her fiance and a person of interest in her homicide — is yet to bear fruit. Now, news channels have obtained high school yearbook photos of the couple, years before their ill-fated cross-country road trip as a travel-blogging couple.
Fox News, The Sun, and other websites published images of the two from their yearbooks. They reportedly show Petito in her sophomore year and Laundrie as a junior at Bayport-Blue Point High School in New York. Although much younger, Petito has the now-familiar beaming smile. Laundrie, on the other hand, looks chubbier, with a chinstrap beard, peach-fuzz mustache and a full head of hair.
Despite growing up in the same area and attending high school together, the couple only started dating after graduation, according to a family spokesman.
As per an earlier report in The Sun, friends of Laundrie and Petito said the couple experienced “highs and lows” during their relationship as they claimed there was “always some drama”. While a Fox News report says that Petito and Laundrie began dating in March 2019, the tabloid reported that the two reportedly dated in school and broke up in 2016 after Laundrie graduated.
Alyssa Chen, a high school friend of Petito said, “They had very high highs and very low lows. But she always said he was a good boyfriend.” Another friend, Ben Matula said, "One minute, they'd be all over each other, the next minute he'd be like 'We're fighting. They always had some drama… There was always something below the surface where things weren't 100 percent wonderful.” Matula added, “They were living the dream that we all want. They were having the adventure of a lifetime.”
Nicole Kalanich, who worked with the couple in a Publix grocery store in North Port, said they were a “happy and cheerful” couple. She said, “They were couple goals for me.” Two of Petito’s friends Nikki Passannante and Steven Evans told reporters that the couple seemed happy even though they had never met Laundrie, NewsNation reports.
A store owner near their Long Island hometown told Fox News earlier in September that Petito, who he claimed had been coming into his shop since she was 12, never brought Laundrie along with her. When she showed up to buy Laundrie a shirt before their fatal road trip, the store owner claimed that workers didn’t even know they were dating.
Laundrie, who has been charged with using two financial accounts that did not belong to him between August 30 and September 1, has been missing since September 14 when he left home to go to the Carlton Reserve. Cops have since combed the swampy area for him but have been unable to find the 23-year-old even as the internet fills up with rumors and theories of Laundrie escaping to Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and other countries.
On September 4, Laundrie reportedly purchased a cell phone at an AT&T store in North Port. Bertolino said the phone was not a "burner phone" and that it required the opening of an account, adding Laundrie left that phone at home "the day he went for a hike in the preserve on September 14, 2021, and the FBI now has that phone." It is unclear what happened to Laundrie's previous phone.