'It felt like a real slap in the face' - Gabby Petito's best friend says boyfriend Brian Laundrie is hiding, not missing

FBI search crews are still searching for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend and person of interest in Gabby Petito's case, at the Carlton Reserve in Florida - and her best friend says she thinks he's hiding.

News 12 Staff

Sep 20, 2021, 1:18 AM

Updated 1,038 days ago

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FBI search crews are still searching for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend and person of interest in Gabby Petito's case, at the Carlton Reserve in Florida - and her best friend says she thinks he's hiding.
Laundrie's parents reported him missing days after he was named the person of interest in the case.
"It was a real like slap in the face for him to be in hiding now," says Rose Davis. "Gabby's missing and Brian's hiding and it's totally two different things with that."
Davis, of Sarasota, Florida, says she's known the couple for about two years and often hung out with them at Laundrie's home in North Port, Florida. Petito's family reported her missing on Sept. 11.
The 22-year-old Blue Point native was on a cross country road trip with Laundrie out west. Police say Laundrie returned to Florida without Petito and refused to talk to investigators about her whereabouts.
"I thought I knew him better," says Davis.
Davis says she feels betrayed by a man she considered a friend.
"I was surprised to hear he lawyered up immediately and I was surprised to hear he was back without her," she says. "Thinking of my friend leaving my best friend somewhere or hurting my best friend, even thinking of my friend not doing everything to find her, find Gabby, it's almost, as I said, surreal."
Davis says Laundrie had a sweet, nice composure but she also saw his controlling and jealous side. She says there were times when Petito and Laundrie argued and Petito would stay at Davis' house to get away from Laundrie.
Davis didn't think the fighting was anything out of the ordinary for a couple - but that the meltdown captured in a Utah police bodycam video was both telling and alarming.
During their roadtrip, Petito and Laundrie were pulled over by police after someone called 911 to report an altercation between the couple.
"Love can make you do weird things. Love can cause jealousy and jealousy can cause this rage and I believe they love each other, or at least Gabby loves him and you can see in the bodycam she's holding back. She's holding back on saying what was happening," Davis says.
The FBI announced Sunday that a body believed to be that of Gabby Petito’s was found in Grand Teton National Park.
The lawyer for Petito’s family says in a statement, “I would also like to personally thank the FBI, the Suffolk County Police Department, the North Port Police Department and especially the Grand Teton Search and Rescue Team. Your tireless work and determination helped bring Gabby home to her parents. The family and I will be forever grateful.”


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