SCHOOL friends of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito say the couple experienced “highs and lows” during their relationship and claim there was “always some drama”.
Gabby and Brian met while studying in high school in New York but they broke up in 2016 after he graduated.
They rekindled their romance a year later when Gabby finished school and she moved in with Laundrie's family in Florida.
She decided against going to college as she worked as a pharmacy technician while Laundrie sold his digital artwork.
Despite falling in and out of love, friends didn’t see anything “concerning” between the young pair.
Alyssa Chen told People magazine: “They had very high highs and very low lows. But she always said he was a good boyfriend.”
Also, speaking to People 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."
The pair shared their love of travel as they mapped out a new way to live after struggling to find the cash needed to pay for hotels.
Their cash struggles led them to buy their white Ford Transit van before embarking on their cross-country road trip.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Meanwhile, their high-school pals were either still in college or struggling to find jobs after graduation.
Matula said: They were living the dream that we all want. They were having the adventure of a lifetime.”
Nicole Kalanich, who worked with Gabby and Brian in a Publix grocery store in North Port, said they were a “happy and cheerful” couple.
She told Insider: “They were couple goals for me.”
Two of Gabby’s friends Nikki Passannante and Steven Evans said the couple seemed happy even though they had never met Laundrie, NewsNation reports.
The vlogger, who was branded a “free spirit” by her dad Joe Petito, posted loved-up snaps documenting her relationship with Laundrie.
In June 2020, she posted a picture showing the couple wearing matching blue hoodies while holding what looks to be sushi in chopsticks.
'LOVED UP' COUPLE
A caption said: “Here’s a picture from our first date because I have so much love for you. Brian asked me to marry him and I said yes.”
Addressing Laundrie, she added: “You make life feel unreal and everyday is such a dream with you.”
Gabby and Brian embarked on their cross-country road trip at the start of July as they documented their adventures touring the midwest’s canyons and national parks.
They visited Colorado, Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming before Gabby mysteriously disappeared.
Her last known contact was with her family on August 25 as she informed them that she and Laundrie had reached Grand Teton National Park.
Gabby posted snaps of the pair as they posed in front of landscapes, showcasing idyllic canyon ranges.
In a separate post, Gabby said: "We hiked up here in about 100° and it was so nice coming back to our campsite, watching the sky fill with dark clouds, and view the lightning storm in the nice cool air of the light rain.
On July 22 she shared: "Rain sounds like a negative thing when camping, but after coming back from a strenuous long hike in the sun with no shade for miles, it's nice to lay listening to the cold rain hit your tent and fight (Laundrie) for the blanket."
The vlogger and Laundrie documented their road trip on her YouTube channel Nomadic Statik and filmed their experience camping in the mountainous terrain of Capitol Reef in Utah.
But, the pair were reportedly involved in an alleged dispute in Moab on August 12 – days before Gabby vanished.
Park ranger Melissa Hulls warned the vlogger that her relationship seemed “toxic”.
The couple’s camper van had been pulled over by cops and Gabby was sobbing in the back of a police cruiser when Hulls approached.
Hulls told the Deseret News: “I can still hear her voice. She wasn't just the face on the milk carton, she was real to me."
The ranger warned that the couple's relationship seemed “toxic” but admitted she was “more candid” than she should’ve been.
She said she was “imploring” Gabby to “re-evaluate” the relationship as she asked the vlogger if she was happy.
The ranger revealed the 22-year-old was "anxious" about being away from Laundrie.
Police responded to a 911 call regarding an alleged incident between Petito and Laundrie outside of a grocery store on August 12.
As she sobbed, Petito told cops: We've just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues."
Laundrie then adds: "It's been a long day. We were camping yesterday and camping got [inaudible] and stuff."
After the pair were ordered out of the vehicle and separated, Laundrie said: "I'm so sorry officer."
Petito, who is still crying, adds: "I have OCD and I was just cleaning and straightening…
"And I was apologizing to him and saying I'm sorry that I am so mean as sometimes I am so mean because I have OCD and get really frustrated.
"Not like mean towards him I guess my vibe is like in a bad mood and I said I'm sorry I'm in a bad mood I am stressed I had so much work."
And, a photographer told Fox News that she had seen Laundrie and Gabby at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming on August 27.
Nina Celie Angelo said she had been visiting the state with her boyfriend when they stopped for lunch at Merry Piglets, in Jackson, between 1 and 2pm.
Angelo claims she watched on in shock as an agitated Laundrie began arguing with a waitress. Petito was with him at the time, she said.
While she said she couldn't hear what words were being exchanged between Laundrie and the woman, she believed the spat was either over the bill or about money.
A manager at the restaurant also told NBC News that he had seen Laundrie and Petito on the same day.
The boss claimed that the couple did not arrive in their white Ford van but on foot.
Laundrie returned to Florida alone days later on September 1 where he hired a lawyer and refused to cooperate with cops.
The couple’s camper van was seized and Gabby’s family reported the young vlogger missing on September 11.
Laundrie was reported missing last week – days after allegedly telling his parents that he was going for a hike in Carlton nature reserve in Sarasota.
North Port Police department Josh Taylor said the reserve is “an unforgiving location” at times.
He added: "This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails."
Search and rescue expert Chris Boyer of the National Association for Search and Rescue, told Insider: “There’s a chance Laundrie may have lied to his family about where he was going.
“People that are trying not to get caught for something sometimes use people, right? So he may have told his parents that's where he's going.
“They may be telling the authorities that in all honesty, but he lied to them."
There is no evidence that Laundrie lied to his parents.
The expert claimed that Laundrie may not even be in Florida and “could be anywhere”.
A number of alleged sightings regarding Laundrie have circulated online in recent days. Most alleged sightings have led to dead ends.
There have also been reports that he might be hiding on the Appalachian Trail.
Another search in Okaloosa County turned out to be a dead end.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office investigated reports of a man matching Laundrie's description appearing on a trail camera, but on September 23, they confirmed it was not him.
A series of possible sightings have been reported in a number of states including elsewhere in Florida and Alabama.
Meanwhile, others have claimed that they gave Laundrie a lift in Wyoming – days after Gabby’s last known contact with her family.
Norma Jean Jalovic alleged that Laundrie "freaked out and tried to jump out of her car" as she claimed she gave him a lift near the Jackson Lake Dam, Wyoming on August 29.
The alleged encounter happened just minutes after Laundrie reportedly asked Miranda Baker and her boyfriend for a ride in their car.
She claimed that they were approached by the 23-year-old at the Grand Teton National Park.
Baker alleged that Laundrie offered $200 for the ride for approximately 10 miles, something which she saw as “kind of weird”.
A federal arrest warrant has since been issued for Laundrie as he is accused of swiping Gabby's debit card and running up a $1,000 balance from August 31 until September 1.
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