[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
As the investigation into Gabby Petito’s disappearance and apparent death moves into its next stages, we’ve just gotten another piece of the puzzle: a witness who allegedly saw her boyfriend (and FBI person of interest) Brian Laundrie slap and “hit her” before they were questioned by police in Utah.
In the 911 call obtained by Fox on Monday a caller claims to have seen a young couple in a physical altercation on August 12 near Moab, Utah.
As readers will recall, a police body camera video has been one of the main pieces of evidence in the case, and it has also been a prime indicator that the couple’s relationship may not have been as picture-perfect off-camera as it looked on social media.
In mid-August, weeks before the Petito family would report their daughter missing on September 11, the police pulled over Gabby and Brian after receiving a domestic dispute report. Things were visibly wrong, but nobody fessed up to a fight, leaving many to wonder what was really happening behind the scenes. Until now, it also remained unclear what witnesses had been disturbed by, but some of those questions are finally being answered.
In the audio clip, the caller alleges he he saw a man “hit” a woman outside of a “white van” with a “Florida license plate,” explaining:
“We drove by them. A gentleman was slapping the girl.”
Not sure about that word choice, considering the context. But good on him for calling the cops! After confirming he saw an act of violence, the concerned caller continued:
“And then we stopped and they ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and they drove off.”
It was this same afternoon that police found Gabby in tears and questioned both travelers. While neither of them admitted to having a physical confrontation like the one described, Brian did suggest his fiancée was having some kind of breakdown that resulted in scrapes on various parts of his face and arms. When explaining how he obtained the injuries and why someone would have noticed the argument, he suggested he was trying to be loud so that Gabby would realize people were watching and calm down.
While speaking with authorities separately, the aspiring travel blogger shared that she sometimes has difficult days managing OCD in the tight space. She admitted they had been arguing all day after she spent the morning working on her blog and attempting to organize the van in hopes of getting out of a “bad mood.” Neither was charged with anything that day, including domestic violence (though the officer warned them against future fights). They were instructed to spend the night apart to calm down, as well. The whole thing ended up getting logged as a “mental health crisis.”
Innerestingly, this new piece of evidence contradicts an official police report that claimed “no one reported that the male struck the female” — clearly false if given a listen to this quick tape, which you can do (below).
Police are still looking for Laundrie, who is a person of interest in the case. Following a search of his parents’ home, where he lived and had been staying before his own disappearance over the weekend, the residence is now considered a crime scene. Tons of evidence has already been removed from the residence.
While an autopsy has yet to be completed on the body found near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the FBI and local police department have already shared their condolences to Gabby’s family and loved ones — so they’re clearly confident it’s her.
What a tragic and complicated case. We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest in the investigation; maybe one day soon we’ll get some answers that will give a sense of justice to Gabby’s family.
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