Gabby Petito’s best friend, Rose Davis, believes that Gabby’s relationship with Brian Laundrie was exactly what they call “very toxic.”
“At the time, it just seemed like he was jealous,” Rose, 21, tells PEOPLE. “Honestly, it seemed like a jealousy problem, which I understood because, you look at Brian and then you look at Gabby and you’re like, ‘Gabby, you could have anyone in this entire world.’”
According to Rose, Brian had “jealousy issues and that was apparent. I mean that you could see right through it when after you hang out with them just a few times.”
Rose spoke to PEOPLE about her friendship with Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old Long Island, N.Y., woman whose body was discovered in Grand Teton National Park over the weekend; this was eight days after her mother had reported her missing.
Gabby’s death has been labeled a homicide.
Gabby was last seen in late August, during a cross-country road trip with Brian Laundrie, 23.
Brian returned to his parents’ North Port, Florida, residence on September 1, without Gabby. He is now wanted by the FBI with an active arrest warrant that was issued late Thursday on allegations of unauthorized use of a debit card. He has been the subject of a huge weeklong manhunt across a Florida reserve.
Rose recalls expressing her concern to her mother after first meeting Brian, telling her at the time, “He’s a little weird.”
“I said, ‘Something’s a little off about him. I don’t know what.’ It was the first thing I said. My mom said that to me when she went missing. She was like, ‘Didn’t you say he was weird?’”
According to Rose, Brian is “a sociopath” who was swift at lying. Gabby would oftentimes talk to her about the loud arguments and tense fights she would have with Brian.
Rose remembers that over the course of their two-year friendship, Gabby often came to her home after arguments with Brian.
“I tried not to judge their relationship, but I knew something was off,” Rose remarks. “I just, I didn’t expect this, obviously. I just thought he was just controlling. And bit by bit, she was almost… The more we were hanging out, and the more she was away from (the relationship), the more she got comfortable and was getting into her own skin and then, she started working.”
According to Rose, Gabby had begun working 50 hours a week at a local Taco Bell in early July, before the couple’s trek. But, Brian did not want Gabby to work after the two had quit their jobs at a closeby Publix due to the pandemic.
“He could keep an eye on her at Publix,” Rose explains. “He didn’t want her to work, and she did. And he was mad about it. And he always tried to get what he wanted and he did, because he wanted the van life and he rushed to that so that she wasn’t going to be able to work anymore.”
Rose added that Brian was also not supportive of Gabby’s social media aspirations to capture their travels and offer road trip hacks. Rose believes this was a sign of domestic abuse.
She claims she recognized the distressed version of Gabby she saw in body camera footage of the couple’s interactions with police in Moab, Utah, last month.
“I have seen her like that, and it’s always the same situation,” Rose explains. “And she always defends him. But she was getting so much more comfortable with me, and I swear this is why he rushed the van life trip – because he knew that I gave her a safe place. She would come to my house when I wasn’t even here, and stay here for hours.”