On The Run: Brian Laundrie's Friend Defends His Character, Claims He 'Didn't See A Dark Side' Until Gabby Petito's Murder

Sep. 23 2021, Published 5:19 p.m. ET

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While Brian Laundrie's family is keeping quiet, the "person of interest" in Gabby Petito's homicide has one friend that's speaking out.

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Ben Matula addressed his pal's character, revealing he "didn't see a dark side with him [Laundrie]," but he did admit Laundrie's relationship with Petito had its ups and downs.

"It seemed like an immature love," Matula told PEOPLE of the couple who got together in high school. "One minute they'd be all over each other, the next minute he'd be like, 'We're fighting.' They always had some drama."

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brian gabby petitio pp
Source: MOAB Police dept; mega

Despite their hot and cold romance, Matula said he never imagined it would end this way. "Before this, I thought Brian was a dependable, ambitious normal guy who wanted to be a good friend," he continued. "I didn't see a dark side with him."

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Laundrie, 23, and Petito, 22, were engaged to be married. They took off in July for a cross-country road trip in her white van.

gabby petito body cam pic
Source: MOAB police dept
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Along the way, their trip was allegedly interrupted with fights caught by witnesses and even a run-in with police.

Petito was reported missing by her parents on September 11, 10 days after Laundrie returned to his parent's home in Florida without her. He immediately lawyered up and refused to work with the police, despite her family's cries for help.

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On September 17, Laundrie's parents announced he was missing after going on a solo hike three days prior. A manhunt was launched five days ago, but Laundrie's whereabouts remain unknown.

Petito's body was found on Sunday in Wyoming. The coroner made a positive ID on the remains, ruling it a homicide.

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gabby petito gallery ig pic
Source: @gabspetitio/instagram

Her best friend has recently spoken out, claiming that Laundrie is "well equipped" to survive in the wilderness alone because he's done it before.

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"I know he lived in the Appalachians for what I believe was three months, and he did it by himself, so I know he's skilled at it," Rose Davis told Daily Mail.

The public is on high alert — with several possible sightings of Laundrie being reported to the FBI. Most recently, a flight attendant claimed she saw someone who she believes could have been Laundrie exiting a hotel in Canada.

gabby petito brian laundrie ig pic gallery
Source: @gabspetitio/instagram


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