BRIAN Laundrie, the fiance of missing van-life vlogger Gabby Petito, shared a series of chilling artworks online just months before the pair embarked on a cross-country road trip, from which only he returned.
Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, hit the road on July 2 in their white 2012 Ford Transit Connect from their home in North Port, Florida, to tour the country's national parks, stopping in Kansas, Colorado, and Utah along the way.
Petito, originally from Long Island, was last seen on August 24 checking out of a hotel with Laurdrie in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The next day, on August 25, she called her family for the last time, informing them that she and Laundrie had traveled to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
She later authored her last Instagram post, which included an image of her visiting the Monarch Wall in Ogden, Utah, with the caption "Happy Halloween."
From there, the couple were due to head to Yellowstone National Park, which is just north of Grand Teton, though it's unclear if they ever arrived.
As a police investigation continues, Laundrie has not yet been named a suspect or a person of interest in the case, though investigators have called the circumstances surrounding her disappearance “odd.”
Petito's mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she received texts from her daughter on August 27 and August 30, though she's no longer sure if Gabby was on the other end of the phone.
"It was just a text. I did not verbally speak to her,' she told Fox News. 'I can't say much, but she's no longer with the van."
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Laundrie has since returned to his home in Florida driving the 2012 Ford van, which police have now seized.
He was alone and there was no sign of Petito.
Laundrie has reportedly hired an attorney and is refusing to cooperate with the investigation into Petito's disappearance. It's unclear when he arrived and if he told anyone about his fiancee's vanishing.
Petitio was officially reported as missing to police by her mother on September 11.
Since Petito's story made national headlines over the weekend, hand-drawn images posted by Laundrie to his Instagram page @bizarre_design_months before they embarked on their road trip have caught the attention of people on social media.
One such post, dated July 8, 2020, shows what appears to be a man wearing a wolf mask, sat in a chair and holding a blood-soaked knife, with red splatters up his arms and legs.
Behind the subject's head is a red circle, with three other animal mask-wearing figures holding guns and a bat.
The post has since received a number of comments from members of the public demanding: "WHERE IS GABBY?"
A second image, captioned "Grim Reaper leading sheep to the slaughter", shows a herd of sheep surrounded by ghoulish figures wielding scythes.
Some of the reapers have been carved into mousetraps and outlined in red.
Another artwork, which Laundrie says was crafted with pen and watercolor, shows Frankenstein's monster chained to a chair made of rock and wood.
In the image, which is in black and white, the monster has shackles around his ankles, feet, and neck.
"That's gonna be you soon," said one commenter.
A fourth work, this time in blacklight form, shows a red skeleton, with its arms in the air and mouth agape, looking up as red splatters – resembling blood – surround it.
'EVERYTHING'S FALLING APART'
Laundrie, who in one post describes himself as a comic book fanatic, leans heavily into pop culture in the vast majority of his paintings and sketches, some of which depict the Marvel character Hellboy and other films.
In one post, from July 14, 2020, Laundrie uploaded a comic-book-style sketch of Brad Pitt's portrayal of Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club and quoted the character.
"Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart," he emulated.
That post, much the like vast majority of those on his page, has been flooded with insults and questions asking where Petito is.
On his profile, Laundrie describes himself as a "nature enthusiast" and preaches others should "Take a hike every day."
“Bug bites are better than being brainwashed by the media,” his profile reads."
'TILL DEATH DO US PART OR UNTIL I WAKE UP'
In addition to sharing his art, Laundrie, like Petito, regularly posted updates on the couple's trip and often posted images of them both together.
In a post from July last year, he shared an image of himself and Petito which was geotagged "Love Of My Life!!!!"
"My biggest fear is that one day I’ll wake up and it will have all been a dream, because that is what every second has felt like since the moment we found each other," the post continued.
"Till death do us part or until I wake up, I’m so happy the answer was yes, Love you hunny."
A post from October, which showed the pair kissing, was captioned: "Never got around to posting these! I’d die just to watch all of our memories on repeat, never loved anyone as much as this girl."
A more recent upload from July 23 showed Laundrie standing atop a red rock in Bryce Canyon, in which he thanked Petito for "putting up with me through Utah." No further explanation was provided.
Laundrie's most recent post was authored on August 13, showing him in Moab, in which he offered a long philanthropic rant about humans and chimpanzees.
"Humans are primates, great apes in fact but I don’t know all how great we are as a species. Chimpanzees share 98.8% of there [sic] DNA with humans, our closest living relative, but as I see it every living creature is in some way our relative even trees," the post read in part.
"Our society has put itself above all living creatures, creating needs purely to support destructive economic practices," he continued.
"This tree doesn’t require an Apple Watch, it doesn’t stream its favorite shows, or have a microwave oven, pay health insurance or drink grande iced caramel macchiatos. It is just a tree but you rarely see geese riding jet skis or wearing designer clothing either."
FAMILY DEMAND ANSWERS
A Suffolk County PD spokesman told The Sun that there is an open and active investigation into Petito's whereabouts, though no further details have been shared.
Investigators issued a bulletin asking the public for any information they might have, describing Gabby as “a white female, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads ‘let it be.’”
While Laundrie has so far reportedly refused to cooperate with the investigation, Petito's friends and family have pleaded with him to provide answers.
Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, says she has a "gut feeling" that her daughter will return home, adding that a "mother’s instinct is the most powerful”.
Worried father Joe Petito, meanwhile, said that he feels helpless but will stop at nothing to find his "free-spirited" daughter.
"[It's like] drowning with your hands tied behind you," he told Newsday.
"You can't describe it. There's nothing you can do. You can't control anything."
He was later asked by The Daily Beast what he thought of Laundrie.
"I’ve got thoughts about the guy, but I can’t share them… I would love to say more, but I can’t," he coyly responded.
'DIDN'T SEEM TO BE A PROBLEM'
Jaye Foster, an Alabaman who is traveling the country in his own converted bus, told the outlet he met Petito and Laundrie near Moab, Utah on August 10.
He said he spoke to the pair for around 40 minutes as they discussed their modified vehicles.
“They were holding hands, they were ecstatic about their rebuild,” Foster said.
“That’s what I find so weird about the whole situation, is that they were both really cool. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong whatsoever.”
Foster told the Beast that Laundrie then offered him one of his two skateboards.
"He said, ‘Here, I’m not gonna be needing two of these,’” Foster recalled.
“She was such a cool person. He was too. That’s what’s freaking me out," he added.
"They seemed totally fine. What sucks is that I couldn’t see him doing anything like that. It’s crazy as hell. It really, really is.”
'GABBY, COME HOME'
Joe Petito has credited the Suffolk County Police Department and the FBI for the "incredible" work they've done so far.
However, he voiced frustration because investigators are reportedly unable to discuss certain matters regarding their probe.
"[It's] frustrating, because we want answers," he said.
Joe Petito described Gabby as a "great kid" who loved life and wanted to experience as much of the world as she could.
"Who doesn’t want to travel the country and see all the great spots? I didn’t have the stones to do it, and here she is banging it out like a champ.
"Yes, this is tragic and all that other stuff, but I’m sure she’ll be found. I have to believe that. Because otherwise, I’ll just break down and cry," he added to the Beast.
"So I’m focusing on the fact that she’s somewhere, we’ve just got to find out where. Getting her home healthy is all that matters right now. That’s it."
The Sun has been unable to reach Laundrie or his attorney for comment.
Anyone with information about Petito's disappearance is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
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