Inside Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s ‘Toxic’ Relationship: ‘Always Something Below the Surface’

The disappearance and death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito has gripped the nation following news of her going missing on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie

What her social media followers may have perceived as a picture-perfect relationship online was masking issues below the surface, Petito’s friend Alyssa Chen told People in a new interview published on September 22. 

Chen said the couple’s on-again, off-again relationship seemed to be harmonious when they were doing well yet could also get tumultuous when the pair was at odds.

“They had times they were toxic and times where everything seemed a lot more healthy,” she alleged about the pair who started dating in high school. “They had very low lows and very high highs. But they really seemed to love each other.”

News broke that it was Petito’s body found in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on September 21, and officials have since determined the manner of her death was a homicide. Her cause of death remains undetermined until the final autopsy results are released. Meanwhile, officials have been searching far and wide for her fiancé, 23, who is a person of interest in the case and has since vanished.  

At this time, Laundrie has not been named a suspect. However, an arrest warrant was issued for his alleged violation of the “Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices” statute of the U.S. Code, specifically for “whoever knowingly and with intent to defraud produces, uses, or traffics in one or more counterfeit access devices.” When reached by In Touch, a lawyer for the Laundrie family said that the arrest warrant was related to “activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise.”

Petito was first reported missing on September 11, more than a week after Laundrie returned home in their 2012 Ford Transit van on September 1. He was last spotted at the home of his parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie

FBI investigators searched the Laundrie home in North Port, Florida, as part of a “court-authorized search warrant” related to the case on September 20. 

One day before, on September 19, Petito’s brother, TJ Schmidt, shared a photo of his sister standing in front of an angel-wings mural, writing, “I don’t even know what to say. I’m at a total loss. My heart is shattered #justiceforgabby.”

Scroll through the gallery below for details on Gabby and Brian’s relationship.

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