Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie reportedly got matching vine finger tattoos to “represent them and their love” before embarking on their ill-fated cross-country road trip from which she never came back.
Ink artist Danny Nostrom told the Daily Mail that the couple were “super excited” when they walked in to his parlor in Venice, Florida, in October to get the tattoos.
“They had texted for an appointment and were referred by a friend. They knew exactly what they wanted,” Nostrom told the news outlet.
“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,” he said.
“I said, ‘OK, 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,” the body painter said.
“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,” he added.
Petito’s 23-year-old beau had one existing tattoo that Nostrom could see – “X” marks on three mountain peaks, the outlet said.
“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,” Nostrom said.
“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,” he continued.
“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,” the artist told the outlet.
“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 added.
The tattooist said the couple told him they were fans of “Forensic Files,” the true crime TV series that detailed how scientists solve violent crimes and mysterious accidents. He said that Petito also told him she liked horror flicks.
“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,” Nostrom told the outlet about the tats he created.
He said they cost a total of $100 and took about 90 minutes to complete.
Nostrom said that when he realized that the couple appearing on the news in the sensational case making headlines across the nation had been his clients, he told his girlfriend, “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,” he said.
“I was just mind blown that what had happened was this close to home. It made it that much more real … 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,” Nostrom said.
Laundrie, who returned to Florida from the trek out west without Petito, 22, on Sept. 1, remains the sole person of interest in the case. He went missing on Sept. 14, according to his parents, who only reported it to police three days later.
There is an active warrant for his arrest on fraud charges for allegedly using someone’s bank card around the time Petito disappeared. Petito was officially reported missing Sept. 11 and later found dead in Wyoming.