Petito and Laundrie

Brian Laundrie Was ‘Very much in control of’ Gabby Petito: Former FBI Behavioral Researcher

A former FBI researcher says body and verbal language between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito made it clear who was in control.

Former FBI Behavioral Science Unit researcher Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess told Fox News that 23-year-old Laundrie had control over every aspect of his girlfriend Gabby’s life, including her van and finances as the pair traveled to the West Coast over the summer.

Laundrie eventually returned home. Gabby never did. She was found dead in a remote area, something that Burgess said was another way for Laundrie to allegedly “isolate her,” even in death.

“He really was very much in control the whole time,” Burgess told Fox News.

Weeks before Laundrie returned home, he had a run-in with Moab, Utah, police on August 12, after someone spotted him and Gabby fighting. According to a witness, it appeared as if the couple had been arguing over a cellphone.

“They were talking aggressively [at] each other [and] something definitely seemed off,” the witness wrote. “At one point, they were sort of fighting over a phone – I think the male took the female’s phone. It appeared that he didn’t want her in the white van.”

Another witness said he witnessed Laundrie slapping Petito.

Referring to the bodycam footage taken by Moab PD on August 12, Burgess said Laundrie stressed that Gabby was his fiancee several times to the officers. Yet, Gabby’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, told reporters that the pair decided against marriage while they pursued their dreams of traveling.

“To Laundrie this [Gabby being known as his fiance] is very, very important, and I think what sets into motion the final days for her,” Burgess said.

Brian Laundrie
Brian Laundrie/Instagram

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Laundrie is wanted on a felony warrant following the death of Petito. Laundrie and Petito embarked on their cross-country trip in July, but by September 1, Laundrie returned to his parents’ North Port, Florida, home with Gabby’s van, but without Gabby.

On September 19, authorities found Gabby’s deceased body in a remote area at the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. According to Teton County coroner, Dr. Blue, Gabby died from strangulation; her death has been listed as a homicide.

Authorities issued the warrant for Laundrie after he allegedly used a Capitol One Bank debit card without permission following Gabby’s death. Laundrie is said to have used the card between August 30 and September 1, “knowingly and with intent to defraud.”

Laundrie’s parents have insisted they have no clue where he is. They claimed he left their residence with a backpack on and headed to the Carlton Reserve on September 13. They reported him missing four days later.

Anyone with information on Laundrie’s whereabouts should contact the FBI at:, call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or 303-629-7171. Upload photos and videos to:

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[Feature Photo: Instagram]