(Trends Wide) — New details of a reported domestic dispute between Gabby Petito and her fiancé while traveling through Utah in August have emerged, as shown in additional footage from a police officer’s body camera.
The images, obtained by Trends Wide, provide another glimpse into the troubles between Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, during their road trip across the country over the summer. A witness to the Aug. 12 altercation described the couple before police arrived as “a kind of fight over a telephone” and they beat each other “like two children fighting.”
Authorities continue to investigate the death of Petito, whose remains were discovered in Wyoming in September. The search for Laundrie, who, according to her family, left her home more than two weeks ago and has not been seen since, remains a key focus for investigators, as the chronology of events since her return to Florida from the west has become clearer.
Laundrie has not been explicitly linked to Petito’s death. Still, a federal arrest warrant charges him with illegally using someone else’s debit card and PIN number on August 30 and September 1.
The incident in Moab, Utah, occurred approximately two weeks before Petito last contacted his family. Laundrie returned to her parents’ Florida home without her on September 1, and her family reported her missing 10 days later.
The interaction with police began with a call from a witness who told the dispatch that he wanted to report a domestic dispute involving a couple leaving in a white van, according to 911 audio provided by the County Sheriff’s Office. by Grand.
“We drove by and the gentleman slapped the girl,” the caller said. “Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, got in the car, and they drove off.”
Police located the truck and stopped the couple after the vehicle exceeded the speed limit, abruptly left its lane and hit a sidewalk, according to a police report from Moab Officer Eric Pratt. The police officer walked to the passenger side of the vehicle, where a tearful Petito told him: “We just got into a fight this morning. Personal problems,” according to the images from the body camera.
The video shows more of the conversation between Petito and the police
The newly obtained footage provides more details of the interactions between Moab, Petito and Laundrie police officers after the stop.
Pratt’s body camera video is over 52 minutes long and includes Petito telling cops that even though Laundrie had hit her, she hit him first.
“Did you slap him first? And just in the face?” Pratt can be heard asking Petito. “Well, he kept telling me to shut up,” Petito responds.
“Still, did he hit you? I mean, it’s okay if you say you hit him, and then I understand if he hit you, but we want to know the truth if he really hit you, because you know …” Pratt says.
“I guess, I guess, yes, but I hit him first,” Petito responds. The agent then asks where he hit her, encouraging her to be honest.
“Well, he grabbed my face, like, I guess … He didn’t like it, he hit me in the face. He didn’t punch me in the face or anything,” Petito tells him.
“Did he slap you or what?” Pratt asks.
“Well he, like, he grabbed me with his nails, and I think that’s why it looks … he definitely cut me here. [señala a la mejilla] because I can feel it. When I touch it, it burns me, “says Petito.
At one point, Petito asks responding officers not to separate her from Laundrie, saying “like we’re a team, please. It’s going to give me a lot of anxiety. Can we have, like, a driving ticket?”
“The best thing I can do is call my supervisor and see if anything is missing here,” the agent tells him.
Petito, sobbing, offers to pay any fine rather than incur charges. Pratt tells him to try to calm down, offering to call his supervisor to “see if the supervisor can tell me something I’m missing so this doesn’t happen.”
Laundrie had small visible scratches on his face and right arm, but “did not fear for his safety” and “showed no indication that he might be a victim of ‘battered boyfriend syndrome,'” according to the Moab police report. “It was assessed that he was at low risk of danger or harm as a result of his proximity to his fiancée.”
The video also provides additional audio of a witness account of the dispute, provided via cell phone to police. “What I noticed was that it looked like they were fighting over a phone. I mean he was trying to grab his phone and I’m not sure exactly why,” the witness tells the policeman.
“And then it looks like he had walked over to the side of the truck and wouldn’t let her in, and then the man was getting in the driver’s seat and she was trying to get into the truck, and he said something about that, ‘Why what are you being so mean? ‘, something like that. I remember that she hit him a couple of times. And it was not fists in the face, but like two children fighting, “says the witness.
No charges were filed and, at the suggestion of officers, the couple separated for the night, Laundrie stayed at a hotel and Petito took the truck.
The city of Moab said in a statement last week that it launched an investigation into the interaction between the couple and the police.
“We understand that people can view the same situation in very different ways, and we recognize how Ms. Petito’s death more than two weeks later in Wyoming could lead to speculation, in hindsight, about the actions taken during the incident in Moab. The purpose of the City’s formal investigation is to gather the underlying facts and evidence necessary to make a thorough and informed evaluation of such actions, “according to the city.
“At this time, the City of Moab is not aware of any violations of Police Department policy during this incident. However, the City will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, take any appropriate next steps. “.
Camp reservation changed before Laundrie returned home, records show
As more is known about the couple’s interactions in August, other information about Laundrie’s family has been gathered in September.
Before he disappeared – and before Petito was reported missing – Laundrie went with his family to a camp dozens of kilometers from his home, authorities said.
Documents recently obtained by Trends Wide from Pinellas County show that Brian Laundrie’s mother had made a reservation to camp at Fort De Soto Park for the first weekend in September, only to change it to a later date and add someone else.
The original dates reserved at the park were Sept. 1-3, for two people, according to the documents. That reservation was made on August 24, but was later canceled on August 31. The documents do not say why the reservation of the camp was canceled as of September 1.
Pinellas County records show that Roberta Laundrie made a new reservation on September 3, two days after her son returned home. This reservation was scheduled to begin on September 6 for three people at Fort De Soto Park, which is located about 75 miles from the family home.
Steven Bertolino, an attorney for Laundrie’s family, confirmed to Trends Wide that the family went camping at the time, adding that the family left the park together.
When asked about the Laundries changing their reservation date at the camp, Bertolino said he “had no details about the Desoto Park reservations, other than that the family was not from 1 to 3 of [septiembre]but from 6 to 7 “.
Also, on September 4, Laundrie bought a cell phone at an AT&T store in North Port, Bertolino told Trends Wide. The attorney said the phone was not a “disposable phone” and required opening an account, adding that Laundrie left that phone at home “the day he went on a field trip to the reservation on September 14, 2021 and the FBI now he has that phone. ” It is unclear what happened to Laundrie’s previous phone.
On Sept. 14, three days after Petito’s family reported him missing, Laundrie’s parents said they last saw him leave their home with a backpack and that he said he was heading to a nearby nature reserve, according to police.
The parents told police this on September 17, three days after he allegedly left, police said.
Petito’s remains were found two days later in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. Later, a medical examiner initially ruled that his death was a homicide.
Trends Wide’s Randi Kaye, Travis Caldwell, Eric Levenson, Ray Sanchez, Jason Hanna, Taylor Romine, Joe Sutton, and Kaylene Chassie contributed to this report.