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Petito and Laundrie

Friend of Brian Laundrie Worries Gun-Loving Fugitive Will Reach Out: ‘It’s Going to be Him on the Other Side’

A former schoolmate who grew up with Brian Laundrie shared new details about the Florida fugitive’s background and says he is “freaked out” about the possibility that Laundrie will reach out to him for help.

The unidentified friend gave an interview to The Sun, describing a middle-school age Laundrie as a heavyset outcast and loner. The source, who grew up with Laundrie in Bayport, Long Island, said that Laundrie lost weight and cut his hair in high school, when he is believed to have met his girlfriend Gabby Petito, who was found dead last month in Wyoming.

“He was a bit of an outcast when he was younger. He was just so to himself,” the friend said.

The friend also noted that the small social group that he and Laundrie belonged to was fond of guns.

“The gun laws in Florida were a lot less restrictive than New York so it was interesting for him to move to another state that allowed that,” the friend said.

He said that Laundrie’s outward demeanor changed during his relationship with Petito, who was a sociable and popular YouTube vlogger who documented much of her life — and her final cross-country road trip with Laundrie, before she was strangled to death.

“These last two years were the most public and open he has ever been. He’s a pretty disconnected off-the-grid type of guy — not the selfie type,” the friend said, also implying that Laundrie is a bit slippery.

“He’s the type of person that would be able to drop everything to secure his means of not being captured and to evade arrest or evade prosecution from what seems to be a pending crime,” friend said.

Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance before she was found dead, and now Laundrie has disappeared himself: His parents told police that he went for a hike in Florida’s Carlton Reserve on September 13 and never returned. While the Teton County, Wyoming, medical examiner announced on Tuesday that Petito was manually strangled, further casting public suspicion on Laundrie, the 23-year-old man has not been named a suspect in Petito’s death.

Laundrie’s old friend told The Sun that he wonders if Laundrie will try and reach him if he needs help.

“He might think I wouldn’t hold some stigma or I wouldn’t care about the matter. I get calls from unknown numbers and from blocked callers and my heart drops. I just think it’s gonna be him on the other side — you never know,” the friend said.

“The reason it would be me is his other very close friends were also very close with Gabby but I was just very close with him.”

Read CrimeOnline’s comprehensive coverage of the Gabby Petito investigation.

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