Gabby Petito's Best Friend Says Brian Laundrie Had 'Jealousy Issues': 'Toxic Relationship'

"I tried not to judge their relationship, but I knew something was off," Rose Davis says

Hindsight always comes too late, as Rose Davis can attest. Looking back on it now, Davis believes her best friend Gabby Petito's relationship with Brian Laundrie was the textbook definition of what she describes as "very toxic."

"At the time, it just seemed like he was jealous," says Davis, 21. "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.'"

Davis continued: "He did have 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."

Davis spoke to PEOPLE this week about her life-changing friendship with Petito, the 22-year-old Long Island, N.Y., woman whose body was found over the weekend in Grand Teton National Park — eight days after she was first reported missing by her mother.

Her death has been deemed a homicide.

Petito was last seen in late August, while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie, 23.

Laundrie returned to his parents' North Port, Florida, residence on Sept. 1, without Petito. He is now wanted by the FBI on an active arrest warrant issued late Thursday on allegations of unauthorized use of a debit card, and has been the subject of a massive, weeklong manhunt across a Florida reserve.

Davis tells PEOPLE she remembers expressing concern to her mother after first meeting Laundrie, 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?'"

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Davis says that in her opinion Laundrie is "a sociopath" who was adept at lying. Petito would often talk to her about the blowout arguments and tense fights she'd had with Laundrie.

Davis tells PEOPLE that over the course of their two-year friendship, Petito often came to her home after arguments with Laundrie.

"I tried not to judge their relationship, but I knew something was off," Davis explains. "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."

Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie. Find Gabby/Facebook

According to Davis, Petito had been working 50 hours a week at a local Taco Bell prior to the couple's trek, which began in early July. She says Laundrie did not want Petito working, after the two had quit their jobs at a nearby Publix with the pandemic's onset.

"He could keep an eye on her at Publix," Davis says. "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."

According to Davis, Laundrie wasn't supportive of Petito's social media aspirations to chronicle their travels and offer road trip hacks. This, she believes, is "a sign of domestic abuse."

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito. Gabby Petito Instagram

Davis says she recognized the distressed version of Petito she saw in body camera footage of the couple's interactions with police in Moab, Utah, last month.

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"I have seen her like that, and it's always the same situation," she says. "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."

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