Friends of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito speak publicly about their relationship: ‘They seem to be pretty in love’

Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie

Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family

  • Friends of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito said the couple appeared to be happy.

  • But two of Petito’s friends said they didn’t meet Laundrie in the 2 years he has dated Petito. 

  • Petito, 22, was reported missing earlier this month after going on a cross-country trip with Laundrie.

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Both Brian Laundrie’s and Gabby Petito‘s friends and acquaintances have commented on the pair in recent days as the national search for the missing 22-year-old woman carries on. 

Petito was reported missing by her family earlier this month after going on a cross-country trip in a converted van with Laundrie.

Nicole Kalanich, a former co-worker of Petito and Laundrie, told Insider that she’s shocked at the news of the disappearance.

Kalanich said she met the couple in February when they were working together at a Publix grocery store in North Port, Florida. She said that while the three of them never spent time together outside of work, she kept in touch with Petito and Laundrie through text and FaceTime once they quit the job a few months later.

They didn’t talk about their trip across the country, though, Kalanich said.

She described Petito and Laundrie as “happy and cheerful.” 

“They never complained,” Kalanich told Insider. “They were couple goals for me.”

Sean Leahy, the father of one of Laundrie’s classmates, described Laundrie as “quiet” and “a good kid growing up,” Fox News reported

His son, also named Sean, knew the pair in high school. 

“All of this stuff coming out, I’m like surprised because every time I ever hung out with Brian, had classes with Brian, he was a really nice kid, a really funny kid,” he told Fox News. 

“I only met Gabby probably one or two times, three times. She, every time I met her, she was really nice,” he added. 

Two of Petito’s friends, Nikki Passannante and Steven Evans, told News Nation host Ashleigh Banfield they never met her boyfriend, but that the couple seemed happy.

“I actually never got to meet him,” Evans said. “When they did get engaged they actually asked me to photograph their wedding, but since then, I never really heard much about him and didn’t even know what he looked like up until now.” 

“I never got the chance to meet him,” Passannante chimed in. “They moved to Florida pretty early in their relationship and we’re in Long Island and unfortunately we never got to know a lot. But from what she says and what she posts, they seem to be pretty in love.”  

When Banfield asked if Petito could have struck out on her own, Passannante shook her head.

“I wish that could be a possibility, I do, she’s not a person that would just go off on her own like that,” Evans added.

“She’s an independent person, but not like that,” he said. “She wouldn’t just fall off the grid and not come in contact with family. She would call her parents every day, sometimes a couple of times a day, so this is just very, very out of the ordinary.”

The couple was filmed on Moab City Police Department bodycam footage in an argument on August 12, a month before Petito was reported missing. Petito admitted to suffering from OCD and anxiety, according to the police report, and the couple was separated for that night. 

Petito last spoke to her mom, Nicole Schmidt, via FaceTime on August 24 and last posted on her Instagram on August 25. Laundrie returned home alone with the van on September 1, police said. Petito was not reported missing by her family in New York until September 11. 

Florida police say they do not suspect a crime in Petito’s disappearance, though Laundrie was named a person of interest in the case Wednesday.

At this point, the police department will not bring Laundrie in for questioning, though the Police Chief said he believes Laundrie “has all of the answers.” 

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