Body camera footage shows Gabby Petito upset after argument as families release new statements
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MOAB, Utah — Body camera footage released by the Moab Police Department Thursday shows a crying and visibly upset Gabby Petito two weeks before she disappeared.
The 22-year-old disappeared while on a cross-country trip in a van with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. They left New York on July 2 and she was reported missing on Sep. 11. Laundrie has since been back home in Florida, has hired a lawyer and is refusing to talk with investigators. Click here for previous coverage.
According to investigators, Petito and Laundrie were supposed to come back to Florida in October after their trip. Their last destination was going to be in Portland, Oregon on Oct. 2.
Petito is believed to have last been in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The incident Moab police responded to happened between Petito and Laundrie on Aug. 12. The body camera footage shows police stopping the couple in their white van after Laundrie was speeding 45 miles per hour in a 15 mile per hour zone and he hit a curb.
“The details outline a disorderly conduct call,” police said in a report. “Officers were dispatched to a domestic problem that had taken place near Moonflower Co-Op.”
In bodycam footage, police ask Petito and Laundrie to get out of the white van. They separated and questioned them individually. Police asked Petito why she was crying. Petito explained she quit her job to go on a trip with her boyfriend and that she is building her own website.
“He doesn’t believe I can do it. He really stresses me out,” Petito said to officers.
When officers talked to Laundrie, he called Petito his fiancé and said she was trying to start her own blog. Officers are heard asking Laundrie, “You wanna tell me about those scratches on your face?” It appeared he had several fingernail scratches around his nose, neck and cheeks.
Laundrie said, “She had a cellphone in her hand….I said let’s just take a breather and let’s not go anywhere, let’s just calm down for a minute. I was trying to push her away. I know I shouldn’t push her and I said let’s just take a breather….I’m fine and I love Gabby.”
A written report of the incident detailed, “She didn’t want to be separated from the male and began slapping him. He grabbed her face and pushed her back.”
When officers questioned why he hit the curb while driving, Laundrie replied, “She (Gabby) was grabbing the wheel.”
Petito told officers that she was hitting him in the arm.
An officer said later in the bodycam video, “She sounds like the primary aggressor.”
Laundrie was very apologetic to officers. When officers spoke to Petito again, she explained, “I have a lot of anxiety and OCD. I know he gets frustrated with me a lot.”
In the video, Petito had said she was worried that she was coming off as “mean.”
Police eventually asked the couple to separate for the night. Petito stayed with the van and officers took Laundrie to a hotel. No charges were filed.
Police released the incident report in full detail, which you can read here.
Police news conference
Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the missing Petito case by North Port Police in Florida. He has not spoken since he reportedly came back to Florida without Petito on Sep. 1.
In a news conference held by North Port Police in Florida on Thursday, Chief Todd Garrison said, “We share the frustration with the world right now. Two people went on a trip and only one returned and that person won’t talk to us.”
Garrison said that they are analyzing what they found in the white van and aren’t specifically conducting a grid search right now.
Investigators do not currently have a search warrant for Laundrie’s home. Petito and Laundrie have lived in Laundrie’s parent’s home for over a year.
When asked if police know where Laundrie is, Garrison responded, “All I can say is I know where he’s at.”
Joseph Petito, Gabby’s father, was also at the press conference and said, “What I need from everybody here is help. I am asking for help. I am asking help from the parents of Brian (Laundrie) and friends.”
Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, is in Jackson, Wyoming near the Grand Teton National Park. In an interview with KSL reporter Garna Mejia, Schmidt explained he was there to help investigators and hand out flyers for Petito.
“This is any parent’s absolute nightmare,” he said in the interview.
Family news conference
During a news conference on Thursday, a friend of the Petito and Schmidt families said Petito and Laundrie were engaged and they put their wedding on hold during the pandemic. They decided to go on this trip instead. Rick Stafford read a letter from Petito’s parents addressed to Laundrie’s parents.
“Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, we are writing this letter to ask you help find our daughter. We understand you are going through a difficult time and your instinct is strong to protect your son. We ask you to put yourselves in our shoes. We haven’t been able to sleep or eat and our lives are falling apart. We believe you know the location of where Brian left Gabby,” part of the letter said.
Stafford added, “Every day that this goes on, they are getting desperate. They know that the Laundrie’s know where she is and that’s infuriating.”
Linked to a homicide case?
According to Fox News, Utah investigators have not ruled out a potential connection between two high-profile cases in the scenic campgrounds around Moab. There was a double-homicide of two newlyweds and the recent incident with Petito and Laundrie happened nearby.
EastIdahoNews.com has attempted to reach the Grand County Sheriff’s Office in Utah multiple times but our calls have not been returned.
Petito and Laundrie were traveling in a white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds. She has blond hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads, “let it be.”
The FBI is asking people with tips on the Petito case to call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).