The rumor mill and reports on Brian Laundrie, especially those Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman, continue to raise questions about what happened. While the Dog the Bounty Hunter star's actions and motivations remain in question, online sleuths and onlookers are trying to piece together some narrative they can follow. Sometimes this can be questionable or misguided.
Chapman, recently went on Dr. Oz to talk about his efforts in tracking down Laundrie in the wake of ex-girlfriend Gabby Petito's death. Laundrie has been allegedly spotted near the Appalachian Trail. At the same time, Chapman focused his search in Florida near the residence of Laundrie's family. But Chapman, along with others like John Walsh, have been vocal in their criticism of the Laundrie family and the alleged actions of their son.
A recent example is from Chapman's Dr. Oz appearance, outlining "demonic-looking" art pieces on Laundrie's social media from when Petito allegedly disappeared. "Now if you look at them, there are pictures of what I would call demonic-looking things," Chapman told the host. "Some of the books that he has read are very, very dark. I mean this kid was not in a very good state of mind before and after this happened."
The framing of the images as "demonic" or "sinister" in the case of The Sun would make one think they were about to witness images of the devil, murder, death, and much more. "A second work, uploaded a week earlier, shows what appears to be a man wearing a wolf mask, sat in a chair and holding a blood-soaked knife, with red splatters up his arms and legs," The Sun described the latter of the works. But the reality is far less sinister once you look at it.
Not only is Laundrie's Instagram account full of pop culture imagery, including Simpsons characters, but the alleged satanic imagery also comes from similar places. The man wearing the mask, surrounded by other masks, comes from the game series Hotline Miami and its sequel. The Sun also notes that a number in the caption of this photo connects to the game series directly.
Another features Frankenstein, while a fourth singled out by The Sun is described as "a red skeleton, with its arms in the air and mouth agape, looking up as red splatters — resembling blood — surround it." The reality here is Laundrie was referencing Watchmen and noted as much in the caption for the photo. While Laundrie is definitely on the run and has a lot of answers to give regarding Gabby Petito, his past life and attempts to read into the tea leaves of his life seems foolish. If there was no death involved, the Instagram account would look similar to dozens of other young Instagram accounts.
The feeding frenzy for information and clues about Laundrie's location and his alleged involvement in the death of Petito allow for stories like this to filter out. The issue, as we've seen before with the hunt for the Boston Marathon Bomber, is that some of this information leads in the wrong direction. At least it can when it becomes fodder for daytime TV talk shows.