Brian Laundrie once lived in the rugged Appalachians — “by himself for months,” according to Gabby Petito’s best friend, who believes the fugitive is hiding out from cops under an open sky.
“He is out in the wilderness, I promise you,” Rose Davis told People, echoing observations from a co-worker and cops who have said Petito’s on-the-run boyfriend is capable of surviving alone in the wilderness.
Davis, 21, has been telling cops and FBI agents everything she knows about Laundrie, and suspects he is on the run, in the Florida swamps.
“He’s out there. He is,” she insisted. “If he’s alive, he’s out there, camping out.”
Laundrie vanished on Sept. 14 in Florida, as authorities combed the Wyoming wilderness looking for his girlfriend, Petito, 21, a native of Blue Point, Long Island.
Her family reported her missing on Sept. 11, after she went silent during a cross-country van tour of national parks. Her body was found on Sunday, and her death ruled a homicide after an autopsy on Tuesday.
An arrest warrant for Laundrie, 23, who drove the van from Wyoming to Florida, was issued Wednesday, accusing him of using Petito’s debit card on Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, presumably during the drive back to the North Port, Florida, home he and Petito shared with his parents.
His parents told cops he left home with a backpack and plans to go for a hike in a nearby nature preserve and never returned. Police resumed their search of the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve Saturday morning.
Davis doesn’t believe Laundrie has anyone helping him hide out.
“He does not have friends,” she said. “He reads books.”
She became friends with Laundrie through her relationship with Petito, though their friendship was strained, she told the mag.
She previously described him as a controlling and manipulative boyfriend with jealousy issues, and said Petito had sometimes stayed with her to put some space between them.
When Laundie disappeared, Davis feared he might come looking for her, she told the outlet.
“He knows where I live,” she said. “When he first went missing, there was a small percentage of me that was like, he definitely knows where I live. And he does not like me.”
“You don’t know what it’s like for someone you considered a friend to murder your best friend,” she continued. “I’ve stayed at their house. I’ve slept in the same house as him. I ate dinners with him, played board games with him, gone to the beach. That’s scary.”
Petito’s body was reportedly cremated and a public funeral service will be held in Blue Point on Sunday.
“This is a very heartbreaking tragedy,” Davis said. “It is so surreal. It is so just horrific. There’s almost a loss of words for it because no one deserves to go out this way, especially not her.”