A Florida tattoo artist shared his memory of a time before things all went wrong for Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie.
As we now know, Gabby was killed amid the pair’s months-long cross country camping trip; shortly after, Brian returned to Florida alone and then disappeared before law enforcement could question him. As the search for him continues, their tattoo artist Danny Nostrom talked to DailyMail.com about inking the ill-fated couple.
Nostrom, who operates his business in Venice, Florida, told the outlet:
“Gabby and Brian came in super excited about getting new tattoos. They had texted for an appointment and were referred by a friend. They knew exactly what they wanted. They said they wanted a couple of vines around each one of their fingers to represent them and their love and the fact they were planning this big trip together. They said they had been together two years.”
“I said, okay easy enough. And then she added a couple of other things she wanted – a ghost riding a skateboard, a little Pisces zodiac sign and a little scorpion on her other fingers. So we just whipped them together and got it taken care of. She actually drew the skateboard and the ghost and then she drew the scorpion as well, to show me what she wanted them to look like. She sketched them on his paperwork, a consent form, so I could get a visual. The vine was something they had seen on Pinterest or something.”
The duo spent time in the shop on October 8, 2020, a little less than a year before the 22-year-old’s death. Recalling what they spoke about that day, Nostrom shared:
“All they talked about was their relationship and how they planned on traveling. They were super excited, very eager about their trip. They didn’t specify where they were going or when. They just said they were planning this trip to go live out of a van for a little while. I’m assuming it’s the same trip that Gabby never returned from. I remember them saying they didn’t even have the van yet, they were working in a Publix supermarket and saving up for it.”
“Gabby came across with a very bubbly personality, very happy. She didn’t seem like she was troubled at all, or anything out of the ordinary. She seemed happy to be in the shop, she seemed super, super friendly. He was a little more standoffish, but we had a nice conversation anyway. He wasn’t totally socially awkward or anything. He was just a little more quiet.”
Nostrom remembered Brian discussing his own art and graphic design work, “which he turned into stickers and business cards.” Gabby, on the other hand, talked about “how she liked horror movies” and how the couple liked to watch the long-running TV series Forensic Files, a detail which is sure to rile true crime conspiracy theorists.
Returning to the tattoos, he described:
“Brian had an existing tattoo on the side of his right hand. It was like three mountains with Xs in each. It was a little faded because of where it was on the hand and he wanted me to touch it up so I did. And then I did the vines on his finger, with the solid leaf work, solid black. But that was it, nothing else. He had no other visible tattoos, nothing I could see. I didn’t even see her other tattoos because she had long sleeves on.”
The artist went on:
“His didn’t come down as far as Gabby’s, just past the knuckle instead of way down. He had no issue with the needle, he sat like a champ. Gabby wasn’t nervous about getting tattooed, she seemed pretty comfortable, perfectly content.”
“The vines were for them, showing themselves as together. The Pisces logo was for her, the ghost on a skateboard was because she liked Halloween and she long boarded as a hobby. I can’t remember the significance of the scorpion.”
The session, which was around an hour and a half and cost $50 for each of them, was forgotten until the case made headlines. Nostrom revealed:
“I had seen them on Facebook and Instagram numerous times in connection with the news, but I couldn’t put a finger on where I knew them from. I just knew they were familiar. One night I was with my girlfriend and it just clicked. I said, I think I have tattooed them. My girlfriend said, no you didn’t. I was like, I’m pretty sure I have. I think I have the tattoos right here. So I started scrolling through my portfolio on my phone and there they were. I checked through social media and there it was, my work.”
“I was just mind blown that what had happened was this close to home. It made it that much more real. This crazy story came out and I spoke to those people, touched those people, did tattoos for them. It had me in awe for a couple of days. It’s a big deal as a tattoo artist, we become a part of these people’s lives. We have put a piece of us into them. Because they forever look at those tattoos.”
Wow. Must have been pretty eerie for him to realize he had worked on the couple, although it doesn’t seem like this recollection would help the investigation. He even shared pictures of the tattoos as well as Gabby’s doodles on the consent form (HERE). Since Gabby had shared their matching tattoos on her own Instagram, this doesn’t really count as breaking news, either, but there is still plenty of interest in Brian and Gabby’s relationship, no matter how distant of a source it comes from.
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