Dr. Orna Guralnik — a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst — claimed the 23-year-old’s potential involvement in the death of his fiancée could have been the result of a “psychotic break.”
Guralnik — who recently starred on the docuseries Couples Therapy to help troubled relationships — told The Sun that Laundrie may have been suffering from some sort of mental illness.
She claimed that if the fugitive did have something to do with the fatal strangling of 22-year-old Petito, then he is either “extremely sociopathic or mentally ill.”
“But there are many, many mentally ill people that don’t murder their partners,” Guralnik pointed out. “Sounds like he was in a rage, impulsive-ridden rage which could have been in the throes of something psychotic or drugs.”
The psychologist also noted Laundrie admitted to having an anxiety disorder during the couple’s police incident in Moab, Utah, on August 12, where he claimed he didn't take the medication he was prescribed.
After Laundrie and Petito were pulled over following a 911 call alleging the pair had been involved in a domestic violence dispute, law enforcement officers on the scene ultimately decided to separate the couple for the night — but ruled there wasn’t anything serious to be concerned about.
Guralnik explained Laundrie’s interaction with the officers, which was captured in the police body camera footage, showed signs of “sociopathic behavior,” as he “knew how to play well with the cops.”
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“He knew how to be charming with the cops,” she told the outlet. “Sociopaths are good at reading a certain aspect of their environment and creating a certain kind of ease.”
Guralnik continued: “They create a certain vibe that helps them get away with whatever they need to get away with.”
Less than a month after their incident with the Moab police, Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Fl., in Petito's fan — but without the young influencer, who would be found dead over two weeks later.
Petito’s body was found in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where the couple had been visiting weeks before as part of their cross-country road trip. Days before her remains were discovered, Laundrie's parents reported him missing, telling authorities they last saw him earlier that week when he left to go hiking in Carlton Reserve.
Last week, it was revealed by Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue that Petito’s death — which was ruled a homicide — was caused by means of manual strangulation.
As for Laundrie, the missing person of interest still remains at large as authorities continue their search.