Brian Laundrie: The dark themes that permeate person of interest’s digital footprint

·6 min read
Brian Laundrie’s social media accounts are being pored over by an army of internet sleuths (Instagram/Brian Laundrie)
Brian Laundrie’s social media accounts are being pored over by an army of internet sleuths (Instagram/Brian Laundrie)

A newly uncovered social media account believed to belong to missing “person of interest” Brian Laundrie is being pored over by an army of internet sleuths seeking clues to his whereabouts.

The Pinterest page suspected of being Mr Laundrie’s is also offering new clues into his state of mind in the weeks before his girlfriend Gabby Petito went missing on about 25 August.

Authorities confirmed Ms Petito’s death was a homicide on Tuesday, but have not identified Mr Laundrie as suspect, and he has not been charged with a crime in relation to her disappearance.

The Pinterest account, listed under the name @blaundrie1197, is linked to a profile under the name of Gabs Petito, and another in the name of his mother Roberta Laundrie.

One image being shared widely shows a sketch of ghostly figures, a gravestone, and text scattered throughout which reads “let her go, let her go, God bless her, wherever she may be.”

The quotes appear to come from “St James Infirmary Blues,” a 1943 song from Cab Calloway.

In a separate post, text at the bottom of an image reads: “Don’t try to find me,” and “I have finally escaped my ‘master’s’ wicked clutches. To the others I say: JOIN ME. Bite the hand that feeds you. Vive La Liberte.”

The quote is attributed to a “Pierre”, and the image reportedly comes from a 2006 missing dog poster seen in Oregon, according to The Sun.

Another folder titled “Life Goals” and shared by Mr Laundrie, his mother, and Ms Petito were making plans for their wedding.

The couple got engaged sometime in 2020, but Ms Petito’s parents have since said they had no immediate plans to marry.

Another page titled “Oh Baby” contains ideas for baby outfits and bedroom decorations, and sparked unsubstantiated rumours that Ms Petito may have been pregnant.

The latest post shows the cover of a book titled Burnt Out, how to cope with autistic burnout.

The last image posted to Mr Laundrie’s Pinterest account hows the cover of a book on how to cope with autism burnout (Pinterest)
The last image posted to Mr Laundrie’s Pinterest account hows the cover of a book on how to cope with autism burnout (Pinterest)

While it’s unknown whether Mr Laundrie was on the autism spectrum, he and Ms Petito told officers attending a domestic disturbance in Utah on August 12 they were suffering from a mental health breakdown.

According to a 911 call, Mr Laundrie hit and slapped his girlfriend in Moab, Utah, on 12 August.

When spoken to by police, she claimed to have instigated the fight and said she had been suffering from anxiety. Attending officer Daniel Robbins said the couple appeared to have been going through a “mental health crisis”, according to a police incident report obtained by The Independent.

Criminologists have pointed out that Mr Laundrie and Ms Petito’s picture perfect presentation of their ‘van-life’ tour of the United States was a long way from reality.

The substantial digital footprint left behind by Mr Laundrie has provided a wealth of material for the online community that has sprung up on social media and on internet messageboards such as the Gabby Petito subreddit, which has more than 110,000 members. They have been obsessively tracking and sharing every development in the case,searching for clues and flooding an FBI tipline with information.

Mr Laundrie presented himself as a committed environmentalist and outdoorsman on his Instagram page (Instagram)
Mr Laundrie presented himself as a committed environmentalist and outdoorsman on his Instagram page (Instagram)

‘An infestation of humans’

On Instagram, Brian Laundrie presents himself as an outdoorsman, a devoted boyfriend, and an artist with conspiratorial leanings.

He rails against being “brainwashed by the media”, about how governments are “evil” and are trying to destroy the planet, and his fondness for pop culture icons like Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk and the creator of the Hellboy comics, Mike Mignola.

The posts are sprinkled with references to nature and leaving behind dark themes; of his admiration for film characters like Joaquin Phoenix’s The Joker, violent video games like Miami Hotline, and a reference to the book Lullaby by Mr Palahniuk, in which a man investigates the death of his wife and child.

This July 2020 post from Mr Petito’s Instagram account was captioned: ‘Who Watches the Watchmen?’ He shared dozens of his own sketches to social media (Instagram)
This July 2020 post from Mr Petito’s Instagram account was captioned: ‘Who Watches the Watchmen?’ He shared dozens of his own sketches to social media (Instagram)

On the account named “Bizarre Design”, Mr Laundrie posted dozens of sketches, travel photos, and references his girlfriend Ms Petito as his “side kick”.

Mr Laundrie wrote often of his disdain for the human impact on the natural world, and of an “infestation of humans” ruining nature on a visit to Zion National Park in August.

He twice references death or dying when posting about his relationship with Ms Petito.

Mr Laundrie sold his artwork on a website called Depop, a fashion marketplace app of a global community buying, selling and connecting”. Most pieces sold for $4 or $5.

He invites people to contact him with any “specific requests/color/size”.

‘Til death do us part’

A photo from the couple’s first roadtrip in 2020 (Instagram)
A photo from the couple’s first roadtrip in 2020 (Instagram)

His first posts on 2 July 2020 appear to be a photo dump of recent travels with Ms Petito. Bearded, bald, and tanned, the pictures appear to show the couple’s first roadtrip across the US last year.

2 July 2020 - It’s been an incredible year, by far the best of my life. I’ve been to so many beautiful places, had so many amazing experiences and all with the best side kick in the world!”

Mr Laundrie’s ‘Til death do us part’ comment’ has attracted significant interest from online followers of the case (Instagram)
Mr Laundrie’s ‘Til death do us part’ comment’ has attracted significant interest from online followers of the case (Instagram)

3 July - “My biggest fear is that one day I’ll wake up and it will have all been a dream, because that is what every second has felt like since the moment we found each other. Till death do us part or until I wake up, I’m so happy the answer was yes, Love you hunny.”

15 July - “Charta Malum (Latin for evil charter). Our mistake has been placing our faith in government rather than put our efforts into sustainable farming. Our forests paved over for shopping malls opposed to everyone living amongst nature and living off of the land rather than pillaging it.”

22 July - “Loved the new#joker wanted to make a minimal stamp of the new prince of crime#dccomics#linocut

Mr Laundrie posted dozens of his own drawings to Instagram (Instrgram)
Mr Laundrie posted dozens of his own drawings to Instagram (Instrgram)

29 July - “When I pondered whether I should do a luci stamp all I could hear in the deep recesses of my mind was “do it”#linocutprint#linocut#disenchantment

Mr Laundrie was a fan of Chuck Palahniuk books, including Lullaby which is about a man who investigates the death of his wife and child (Instagram)
Mr Laundrie was a fan of Chuck Palahniuk books, including Lullaby which is about a man who investigates the death of his wife and child (Instagram)

26 August - “Reading is different than any other consumption of media, it takes more effort that staring at a screen half alive, it allows you to use your brain rather than melt it, and there is no author more stimulation to me than@chuckpalahniuk

Mr Laundrie frequently posted pictures from his trips to national parks (Instagram)
Mr Laundrie frequently posted pictures from his trips to national parks (Instagram)

18 July 2021 - “Zion is proof that mankind can ruin anything even in an effort to preserve it. Beautiful park just with an unfortunate infestation of human beings.”

13 August - Mr Laundrie’s final post, the day after he was spoken to by police after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.

“Humans are primates, great apes in fact but I don’t know all how great we are as a species. Chimpanzees share 98.8% of there DNA with humans, our closest living relative, but as I see it every living creature is in some way our relative even trees. Only 800 million years ago animal cells started appearing on earth comprised of mainly the same parts and following the same functions as plant cells. Requiring oxygen, solar energy, minerals, nutrients and water. This tree(Juniperus osteosperma)was surviving in only inches of soil, in an area of extreme heat and drought. I think our culture, our society has put itself above all living creatures, creating needs purely to support destructive economic practices. This tree doesn’t require an Apple Watch, it doesn’t stream its favorite shows, or have a microwave oven, pay health insurance or drink grande iced caramel macchiatos. It is just a tree but you rarely see geese riding jet skis or wearing designer clothing either. I think if we all want breathable air and drinkable water we all need to learn how to live with less”