An unknown woman — who goes by the name Gabriella Darling on social media — has been claiming for months that she had a relationship with Brian, The Sun reported. Meanwhile, Brian's family is adamant that they have no idea who this person is.
Darling reportedly posted about Brian in September, calling him "narcissistic" and "controlling." However, she changed her tune after his remains were found on October 21 in Carlton Reserve, insisting she is heartbroken over his death while reflecting on their alleged time together.
A woman named April Valenzuela — who has a mutual friend with the Laundries — told the outlet she spoke to Brian's alleged "fake" girlfriend on the phone last Tuesday, October 26, for two hours. The source seemed to insinuate she reached out to the woman, as the outlet reported Valenzuela wanted to help Darling cope with the grief.
Given that Valenzuela has a background as a rape crisis counselor who has worked with trauma victims, she said she believed Darling at first, it was reported. However, internet sleuths — most notably Instagram user @exposinganddebunking — doubted Darling's claims and began digging into her story.
Valenzuela's mutual friend with the grieving family also never believed the woman's claims, and said Brian's sister Cassie was "furious" after seeing stories about Darling.
"It was messed up, and it made Cassie so mad," Valenzuela told the outlet, adding that she then confronted Darling following the family's insistence that they never met this woman.
"She never called me. She messaged me and told me that her family's attorney told her not to talk to anyone," Valenzuela said, noting she hasn't heard from Darling since.
Playing the grieving ex-girlfriend when Brian's remains were found, the woman reportedly posted a lengthy message to Instagram, saying the loss of her alleged "eternal flame" has been the "hardest thing I've ever been through."
"Feels like a part of my heart has been ripped out, and no matter what, no one will be able to fill it," her post began, per the outlet. Noting, "The only thing to do now is to hold those memories very close to what is left of my heart," Darling said she'll try to "make something positive out of this, somehow."
"I get to keep every single thing we lived, every place we went to, every song we listen to, every conversation we had, the tears, and the laughs. I get to keep," she continued of their alleged romance.
Darling acknowledged some people know Brian "as a monster" — given that he was a person of interest in his late girlfriend's homicide after he returned to Florida alone from the couple's cross-country road trip in Gabby's van — but insisted she didn't "know that person."
"I know the person that I had ups and downs with," she continued, "the person that I shared occasional arguments over some things, and the person I eventually left for other reasons." Nevertheless, Darling insisted "all in all," Brian "was not a monster."
After reiterating that she's "absolutely heartbroken," she added: "[Brian] would probably say something back then like 'Babe calm down and think for a second, crying won't solve anything...' I'm here to tell you, I'm going to cry. Every single day."
Darling said she needs to grieve "so [she] can finally heal," before reflecting on what she's taken away from their relationship. "I learned very valuable lessons while i was with you and I'm still learning after this tragedy. because that's what this is," she reportedly wrote, "A tragedy. For everyone involved."
Brian was found dead more than one month after his parents, Chris and Roberta, reported him missing on September 17. At the time, they told authorities their son went hiking in Carlton Reserve three days prior, before later clarifying that they last saw him September 13. Chris was the one who found one of Brian's belongings that led to the discovery of his son's remains after he joined the FBI's search in the 24,565-acre reserve.
Meanwhile, Gabby's parents reported her missing on September 11 after authorities told them the influencer's van was back in the state. The 22-year-old's body was found on September 19 at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming after she died by manual strangulation.