Gabby Petito’s friend Rose Davis (pictured) said her fiance Brian Laundrie was a jealous and controlling partner
The fiancé of missing ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito presents himself as a sweet and caring guy, but is actually jealous and controlling, her friend has claimed in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com.
Rose Davis said Brian Laundrie, 23, allegedly went so far as to hide Gabby’s ID once so that she couldn’t meet up with her at a bar, trigging a violent episode similar to the one police investigated weeks before her disappearance.
‘Brian took her ID just so she wouldn’t be able to come out with me,’ she told DailyMail.com on Friday.
‘He’s got these jealousy issues and he struggles from what Gabby called these “episodes,” where he would hear things and hear voices and wouldn’t sleep.
‘Gabby had to stay at my house a bunch of times because she just needed a breather and didn’t want to go home to him.’
Laundrie, who was traveling with Gabby out west while filming their adventures for a ‘van-life’ YouTube channel she was creating, returned home to Florida alone on September 1.
Scroll down for video
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com Friday, Rose revealed she met Gabby early last year and they instantly hit it off. She shared videos of them taking part in a TikTok dancing trend earlier this year
Rose who lives in Sarasota, a half hour from Gabby and Brian’s home in North Port, said she last spoke to Gabby in early August and was planning to meet her in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park in September
The friend said Laundrie came off as ‘sweet and nice’ but was allegedly always worried that Gabby was going to leave him
‘When I saw that Brian was back from the trip, that was the first thing that popped into my mind – that Brian had one of his episodes – and I was just hoping he didn’t have a snapping moment,’ Rose said.
Rose, 21, who lives in Sarasota, a half hour from Gabby and Brian’s home in North Port, said she last spoke to Gabby in early August and was planning to meet her in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park in September.
Rose had even asked her boss for days off for the trip. They were planning to lock in a specific date on August 29, Rose’s birthday, but Gabby never called.
The next day, Gabby’s mother Nichole Schmidt received a text from her daughter’s phone with a confusing message: ‘No service in Yosemite.’
Yosemite is about 800 miles from the Grand Teton National Park-Yellowstone area where Gabby was last known to be on August 25.
Gabby’s mother told DailyMail.com she’s certain her daughter didn’t send that message, suggesting it could have come from Brian, to possibly distract from her real whereabouts.
She reported her daughter missing on September 11, and police have since identified Brian as a ‘person of interest.’
Rose said she met Gabby early last year on Bumble BFF, a meeting app for friends, and they instantly hit it off.
Rose spoke animatedly and cheerfully about her friendship with Gabby, sharing photos of them together – but began to break down as she appealed to Laundrie to talk to cops about her best friend
She recalled one occasion in which Laundrie allegedly stole Gabby’s ID so she couldn’t go out with Rose to a bar
Police on Tuesday revealed they responded to an ‘incident’ involving 22-year-old ‘van-life woman’ Gabby Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, two weeks before she was last seen
‘Neither of us had any friends,’ Rose recalled, laughing.
‘She had texted me, saying: “You seem so cool. I really want to be your friend. Can we be friends?” And I was like, “Yes, I’d be happy to be your friend.”
‘We just went everywhere together,’ she said.
Gabby, who worked last year at Taco Bell and then took a job at a smoothie place, would sometimes join Rose when she was working her job delivering pizza.
‘We’d tell people she was my emotional service human,’ Rose giggled.
Rose got to know Laundrie early on when she’d visit their home in North Port.
‘I used to consider him a friend, for sure, because I’d hang out with them a good amount,’ she noted.
‘He had this composure as a sweet, nice, caring guy. But you could tell he’s a little off, a little weird. Like, he’d set up our hammocks when we’d go to beach, but wouldn’t sit with us, which I found bizarre.
‘Brian has a jealousy issue,’ Rose said. ‘I’m her only friend in Florida to my knowledge and that’s not because she can’t make friends, he just didn’t want her to have friends.’
Rose and Gabby were so close that they’d share their locations with each through an iPhone app ‘in case we got lost,’ Rose said. But when Laundrie found out, he made Gabby delete it, she said.
‘I didn’t push the issue because I didn’t want it to cause an argument with him,’ she said.
‘He was always worried she was going to leave him,’ she added. ‘It was a constant thing to try to get us to stop hanging out.
Cassie Laundrie (pictured) became the first member of the Laundrie family to break her silence about Gabby’s disappearance in an interview with ABC News that aired Friday morning
Cassie (left) says she has not yet spoken to her brother, who was named a person of interest earlier this week, and that if she had more information she would share it
‘He’d demand she be home for dinner, often cut our time short. He’d demand to pick her up from my house, even when I had a car and offered to drive.’
She said the couple wouldn’t argue in front of her, but she could tell afterward. Gabby would appear upset, but he’d seem calm.
She said it was evident in the body camera footage police shared of an incident involving the two in Moab, Utah on August 12. A witness had called 911 after seeing the couple fighting.
When police pulled the couple over, Gabby appeared was breathing heavily and crying, while Laundrie seemed composed, even as he exhibited scratch marks on his face.
Gabby was seen with tears streaming down her face, telling officers she ‘was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down’ and admitting the couple ‘have been fighting all morning.’
She also told cops that she suffers from OCD and anxiety. Both she and Laundrie also said she had been stressed about the YouTube blog they were working on about their cross-country trip.
Rose, who knew that her friend suffers from anxiety, said ‘for her anxiety to act up like that, there has to be a decent thing to trigger it. Something had to happen, or just a lot of things had to build up.’
‘I’m a little upset she didn’t just call me after that fight, because she would have before,’ Rose added.
The above map illustrates the places Petito and Laundrie visited since the start of the trip leaving New York on July 2 to when she last spoke to her family on August 25 from Grand Teton National Park
Brian Laundrie had been traveling with Gabby on a cross-country road trip before he returning to Florida in the couple’s camper van without her on September 1
Gabby Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt (pictured together) slammed Brian Laundrie’s sister after she gave an interview claiming she loves Gabby ‘like a sister’ but failing to get her brother to share information on her disappearance
She said the body camera footage reminded her of the ID episode from Florida.
Last summer, Gabby was driving to a bar to go line-dancing with Rose in Sarasota when she noticed her driver’s license missing from her wallet.
Gabby returned home and confronted her boyfriend, who Rose said admitted he took her license.
‘Brian didn’t want her to go out with me, so he took it,’ she recalled. ‘She was so hysterical. She told me she slapped him and said something about him pushing her.
‘She was holding back. I told her you need to tell me the deep of what happened and she just wouldn’t.’
Rose also tried, delicately, to get Gabby to reconsider her engagement to Laundrie.
Gabby told her mother she’d put off the engagement, but according to Rose, they were still looking to get married.
‘I told her you’re young and Brian is a little controlling for her, but I also told her to do what makes you happy and I’m here to support you,’ she said.
Rose spoke animatedly and cheerfully about her friendship with Gabby – but began to break down as she appealed to Laundrie to talk to cops about her best friend.
She also smiled as she scrolled through videos of Rose and Gabby together on her phone. One of them is fun footage of them dancing together in a clip for TikTok.
Cops received reports of a possible domestic violence incident near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12
A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation and cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone
‘On the outside [Brian] is very charismatic, seems very loving. There is no doubt in my mind that she loves him and from how I have always seen it he loves her.
‘Of course, like any relationship there were arguments. She would come and stay at my house when there were arguments, to get away from it. Within the first year I want to say at least seven to ten times.
‘I do believe that their relationship as they kept going on was getting more problematic. It just seemed like there was more and more arguments. Everything she did, I feel like he thought was wrong.
‘Even as she said in the bodycam, he didn’t even support her with her blog. That’s not what a fiancé or boyfriend does. That in itself made me feel that it continued to get worse.’
She said it didn’t appear Laundrie had any friends.
‘That’s why he was always in the woods camping, or at the house reading or painting,’ Rose said.
Gabby, for her part, had lost touch with some acquaintances from Blue Point, New York, where she grew up and graduated high school.
In his report, responding officer Daniel Scott Robbins said he pulled the couple over as they were driving towards Arches National Park and noticed Gabby ‘crying uncontrollably’ in the passenger seat
‘Her friends from New York were bullying her when she got with Brian,’ Rose said. ‘It was something about Brian that they didn’t like her being with. She was upset about it once. I went through it with her and was like, screw them.’
Gabby said she spoke with North Port police on Thursday and shared what she knows about the relationship.
She said she’s also considered contacting Laundrie.
‘I wanted to stand outside his house and to just beg him to tell me where he last saw her, but I know he won’t and I can’t force him to talk to me,’ she cried.
‘For all we know, he’s scared and handling this all wrong. I just wish he would talk. Just give me three words, the name of a park. Give me something, something.’
She is holding out hope that Gabby will return home safely but fears the worst.
‘I just know she’s not out there on her own and just hiding, not talking to anyone,’ she said. ‘I know my friend.’
‘My worst case scenario is that this remains unsolved,’ she continued. ‘It’s just been so many days, and it just gets harder each day.
Schmidt has issued several desperate pleas for the Laundries to cooperate with the investigation into Gabby’s disappearance, but the family has refused to help or even reply to her messages
Gabby’s stepmother Tara Petito (left) and father Joe Petito urged the Laundries to tell them where their daughter is in an emotional press conference with police in North Port, Florida Thursday.
Gabby and her younger brother TJ Schmidt. Their mother told DailyMail.com she hasn’t been able to sleep or eat since her daughter disappeared
‘I pray and pray and hope that she’s just trying to survive right now and pray that we find her.
‘Even if it’s the worst situation, I want to find her and I will. And I will do everything I can to get justice for her. Because she doesn’t deserve this.’
Rose struggled to compose herself as she then made a general appeal for any information that could help solve the mystery.
Battling her emotions, she said: ‘If anybody knows or receives any information, or thinks they have any information, please, please say something.
‘We are relying on you to say something. I want to find my friend.’
Laundrie, who was named a person of interest in the case on Wednesday, has lawyered up and is refusing to speak to authorities about Gabby’s disappearance.
His sister Cassie on Friday became the first member of the family to speak publicly since Gabby was reported missing, but offered no specifics about her brother.
‘Obviously me and my family want Gabby to be found safe,’ she said in an interview with ABC News.
‘She’s like a sister and my children love her, and all I want is for her to come home safe and found and this to be just a big misunderstanding.’
Cassie said that she has not yet spoken to her brother and that she has done all she can to assist in the case.
‘I haven’t been able to talk to him. I wish I could talk to him. I’ve cooperated every way that I can,’ she added.
‘I wish I had information or I would give more. This is all I have. I gave it to the police.’
She described her brother as a ‘wonderful uncle’ to her children and as someone who has ‘always been there’ when she or Gabby needed him.
Her comments were slammed by Gabby’s mom Nichole, who questioned why she hasn’t tried to get Laundrie to speak.
Gabby set out on a cross-country trip July 2 with fiancé Brian Laundrie in the couple’s 2012 Ford Transit van. Brian posted this photo of the couple on Instagram on July 16 at Zion National Park
‘What’s that statement do? It does nothing,’ she said. ‘She might have been out of the loop from the beginning. Who knows what the parents kept from family members.
‘But instead of saying that, if these people supposedly loved Gabby, if she’s like a sister, if your kids love her so much, why aren’t you begging them to talk?’
Nichole said her daughter’s disappearance is taking a tremendous toll on her and her family as they struggle to find answers.
Her husband, Jim Schmidt, is now out in Wyoming, where her daughter was last seen, searching for her. She has remained home in Blue Point, Long Island.
‘I’m not sleeping, I’m barely eating and I’m just in a lot of pain right now. A lot of pain,’ she said. ‘I’m trying not to lose hope but it’s hard.’
She’s also finding it hard to believe the system protects a person like Laundrie, allowing him a right to remain silent when her daughter is likely in peril.
‘The fact that there’s a constitution that protects him, it’s making me sick because he’s home safe while my daughter is probably not safe,’ she said.
‘The FBI and police is trying, they are doing their job,’ she said. ‘But I’m thinking long term. There’s got to be law changes for situations like this. I will fight to end of earth not only for Gabby but for anyone else that ends up in this situation.
‘If somebody is known to be the last person with a missing person, then they shouldn’t have a right to not talk. They should lose that right altogether. This can’t be allowed.’