BRIAN Laundrie shared a series of sinister artworks to his Instagram page just months before embarking on a cross-country road trip with his fiancee Gabby Petito, from which only he returned alive.
Laundrie, 23, quietly returned home alone from the trip on September 1, offering no explanation about where Gabby was. He then vanished on September 14, five days before Gabby's remains were found in Wyoming.
In a preliminary report, coroners have rule the nature of Petito's death a homicide. A cause of death is yet to be revealed.
Laundrie, meanwhile, is not currently considered a suspect in Gabby's murder but is considered a person of interest. He also has a warrant out for his arrest on bank fraud allegations after allegedly using a debit card that's believed to have belonged to Gabby.
In the days and weeks before Gabby's death, the couple frequently documented their travels on social media, presenting themselves as a pair very much in love who were embarking on the trip of a lifetime in their repurposed van.
But the idyllic and picturesque snapshots shared by the couple have since been exposed as a thin facade.
With the mystery surrounding Gabby's murder continuing to set news networks aflame, internet sleuths have dug deeper into Laundrie's social media pages in search of clues that trouble may have been brewing between the pair long before they left Florida in their van back in July.
Artwork Laundrie shared to his personal Instagram page, @bizarre_design_, has come under increasing scrutiny as part of the digital probe.
One such post, dated July 15, 2020, is captioned "Grim Reaper leading sheep to the slaughter" and shows a herd of sheep surrounded by ghoulish figures wielding scythes.
Some of the reapers have been carved into mousetraps and outlined in red.
A second work, uploaded a week earlier, 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.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Curiously, in the caption of the artwork, Laundrie shared a phone number that, when contacted by The Sun, led through to a strange voicemail message.
The number appears to be linked to the game Hotline Miami which is described online as featuring "extreme violence", being "high-octane", and "overflowing with raw brutality, hard-boiled gunplay, and skull-crushing close combat."
The message also features an eerie voice that talks about "marching into the future."
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.
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.
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."
WITCHCRAFT AND DARKNESS
Laundrie's activity on Pinterest in the weeks before Gabby was killed has also been stirring up concern and conspiracies in equal measure.
Various posts reference darkness, ghosts, crime, and witchcraft.
In one post – or "pin" – Laundrie saved an image of the definition of nyctophilia, a "love of darkness or night, finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness."
In a second post, in an album titled "bleak", Laundrie saved an image of a "Witchcraft moon phase magic pocket guide" listed for sale on Etsy.
"Are you a Witch? A fan of Magick? Interested in the unexplainable, the occult? If the answer is yes, then these 'Pocket Guides for Witches' are for you!" the book's description reads.
Another image, saved to a folder called "my Heart", shows a skeleton holding a needle in one hand and a balloon in the other.
"You do it to yourself, and that's what really hurts," the text next to the figure says.
A second post in the same folder is a meme showing two people talking.
The first panel reads: "I just want someone to take me out."
When asked "like on a date or with a sniper gun", the same person responds: "Surprise me."
Other images saved by Laundrie include pictures of masked people posing with guns and an image of a tattoo on a woman's back, which reads: "I'm the hero of this story. I don't need to be saved."
The Sun previously reported on a number of other troubling posts saved on Laundrie's interest account.
'DON'T TRY TO FIND ME'
Amid his own disappearance, one of the posts now causing a stir online is a pin he saved a number of weeks ago titled "The Opposite Of Lost."
The image, saved to a folder titled "my Heart", features pale purple and pink clouds. Also written beneath are the words: "Don't try to find me. I have finally escaped my 'master's' wicked clutches.
"To the others I say: JOIN ME. Bite the hand that feeds you. Vive La Beberte – Pierre."
The bizarre image appears to originate from a missing dog flier that was spotted in Portland, Oregon, in 2006. Oregon, incidentally, was the final planned destination of Petito and Laundrie's trip.
Also featured in the same folder is a series of quotes, including one from the movie Fight Club which reads, "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything."
Another post, saved to the account's "things to burn off" album, contains a digital sketch of ghosts, clowns, and skeletons.
In the center of the artwork, designed by Sacha Strange, is a cartoon gravestone with the words "My Baby" written across it.
The words "She'll never find a sweet man like me", and
"Let her go, let her go, GOD BLESS HER, wherever she may be" also appear around the headstone.
SEARCH FOR LAUNDRIE
Brian Laundrie has now been missing for more than two weeks.
The couple was around two months into their planned four-month cross-country road trip touring the US’ national parks before Gabby vanished sometime around August 27.
Brian quietly returned home to Florida alone on September 1, failing to alert police or Gabby’s family that she was missing.
He reportedly acted “without a care in the world” upon his return, neighbors said, mowing the front yard and enjoying idyllic bike rides with his mom.
As reported by The Sun on Tuesday, Brian even went camping with his parents on September 6 at Fort De Soto Park.
Gabby was eventually reported missing by her mother in New York on September 11. That came after 10 days of allegedly being stonewalled by Brian and his parents about where her daughter was, she said.
Then, on September 14, Brian allegedly vanished after telling his parents he was going hiking at Carlton Reserve.
But they didn’t report Brian missing until three days later when police showed up at their home.
Police are still searching Carlton Reserve for traces of Laundrie, while TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter courts Fort De Soto following a tip he may never have left the park when his parents checked out on Sept. 8.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:
- June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
- August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
- August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
- August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
- August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
- August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
- September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
- September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
- September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
- September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
- September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
- September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
- September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
- September 26 – Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
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