Gabby Petito, boyfriend shown after 911 call, weeks before disappearance

National News

MOAB CITY, Utah (NewsNation Now) — The Moab City Police Department in Utah Thursday released body camera footage following an alleged physical altercation between YouTuber Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, just weeks before she disappeared.

The hour-long body camera footage shows officers responding to a 911 call reporting an alleged domestic dispute between the pair on Aug. 12 in Utah. The childhood sweethearts were on a cross-country road trip together, saying on social media accounts they intended to reach Oregon by October.

You can view the full bodycam footage below.

The Moab City Police Department independently confirmed to NewsNationNow.com that police were called to an incident involving the couple. NewsNation also obtained a redacted copy of the police report from the incident involving an alleged altercation between the couple.

A witness reported a “male had been observed to have assaulted the female” near the Moonflower Community Cooperative. Petito and Laundrie then left the area in a van, but one officer says he was able to catch up to the van as it neared the entrance to Arches National Park.

The officer said they stopped the van after it was spotted traveling 45 mph in a 15 mph zone. Before the van stopped, the officer says the van crossed the centerline and abruptly swerved. The van then came to a stop a short distance before the entrance gate.

After stopping the van, officers say they noticed Petito crying “uncontrollably.” She continued crying throughout their conversation and said she was struggling with her mental health.

Additionally, Petito told officers she and Laundrie had been having “little arguments” that day. Petito told Moab police that when she saw the officer trying to pull them over, she “hit Brian in the arm to get his attention,” which caused him to hit the curb.

The entire time she spoke with police, the officer says Petito was breathing heavily and could not stop crying “or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands.”

Authorities reported Laundrie told officers the couple had been traveling for four to five months, which “created emotional strain between them and increased the number of arguments.” He also said “issues between the two had been building over the last few days,” causing them to argue more than usual.

While arguing in Moab, Laundrie says he tried to separate Petito from him so they could “both calm their emotions.”

At this point, Laundrie says he got into their van and Petito had “gone into a manic state.” Laundrie explained Petito then thought he “was going to leave her in Moab without a ride.” He said Petito then began to slap him. Laundrie tells police he pushed her away to avoid being slapped. According to the police report, Laundrie says Petito lost her balance but was still able to scratch his face.

No reports of Laundrie hitting Petito were given, according to Moab police. The couple told authorities they were in love and did not want either to be charged. Petito and Laundrie reportedly separated for the night, with Petito keeping the van and Laundrie getting lodging assistance from police.

“After evaluation the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis,” reporting officer Daniel Robbins said in part.

In the report, Laundrie is listed as the victim, but Chief Bret Edge said there was not enough evidence to move forward with any charges.

“Neither Brian nor Gabrielle were the reporting party,” he said. “Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges.”

Florida authorities said Wednesday that Laundrie is now a person of interest in the case after Petito disappeared while the couple was on a cross-country road trip together. Laundrie has not cooperated or spoken with police.

The trip was well-documented on social media until Petito allegedly disappeared somewhere near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The couple documented most of their trip, which started in July, on a YouTube Vlog called “VAN LIFE”.  The last posts to both Instagram accounts were from Grand Teton National Park.

Her last text to her family was Aug. 30. They became worried when they didn’t hear from her again.

Thursday, attorneys for Petito’s family read a letter on their behalf in which they pleaded with Laundrie’s family to help the investigation.

“If you or your family have any decency left please tell us where Gabby is located,” the letter said. “Please tell us if we’re even looking in the right place.”

While Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest, police said he “has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details.” Authorities say they know Laundrie returned to North Port on Sept. 1, 10 days before Petito was reported missing.

Her father, Joe Petito, said to NewsNationNow.com he doesn’t understand why Laundrie wouldn’t want to voluntarily speak with officers about his daughter’s disappearance.

“You would think someone would want to cooperate with (police) if you love them and you call them your fiancee,” he said. “That just makes sense to me. But you know, I guess he had a different idea.”

At a police press conference Thursday, Joe Petito pleaded for help.

“What I need from everybody here is help,” Joe Petito said. “Because the goal is still not met. And the goal is to bring Gabby home safe.”

A national search is now underway for Petito, who is from New York.

She is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs about 110 pounds.  She has blonde hair, blue eyes and several tattoos, including one on her finger and forearm that reads “let it be.”

The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips: 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).

NewsNation affiliate KTVX and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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