New Bodycam Video of Emotional Gabby Petito Surfaces as Police Continue Looking for Missing Woman
The story of the missing 22-year-old woman New York woman, Gabby Petito is one that still has far more questions than answers.
Police believe her fiance, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, may have information that could help them connect the dots to find Gabby, but he's not cooperating nor is he speaking. Laundrie was named a person of interest after Petito was reported missing over the weekend.
Petito is an influencer who was on a planned cross-country trip with her fiance. The couple documented their travels on social media and their YouTube page, detailing their "van life" adventures in a Ford Transit Connect that was modified to camp in on their extended road trip.
Gabby left home with Brian on July 2, staying in touch regularly with family members and friends up until late August, when her parents say they heard from her last. Brian has since returned home to Florida, where the couple lived with his parents but he is reportedly refusing to tell the police, or Petito's family, anything about her whereabouts.
On Thursday, bodycam video from a dispute between Petito and Laundrie that police in Moab, Utah responded to surfaced online. The footage showed Petito "crying uncontrollably" after the couple had been fighting all morning. Laundrie told police that the time the pair was spending together "created emotional strain between them and increased the number of arguments.”
Petito's parents say they've been pleading with Laundrie to cooperate and share any details that could help authorities as the investigation into their daughter's disappearance continues. They are also asking the public to come forward with any information that could be helpful in locating Petito.
Here's what is known at the time of this story being published.
Gabby is known on social media as an influencer who travels
Although she lives with Laundrie and his parents in North Port, Florida, Petito is originally from Blue Point, New York. The couple has been traveling the country together and posting all of their content on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.
Their "Van Life" video on YouTube got over 1 million views.
Their most recent excursion took them through hot springs and national parks. Petito's last Instagram post was made on August 25.
Witnesses saw Petito arguing with Laundrie and called the police
Moab police officers stopped the couple after they were called about a "domestic problem" the couple allegedly had outside of the Moonflower Community Cooperative. The person who called 911 told police they saw Petito slap Laundrie across the face while the two fought over a phone. The witness also told police they saw Petito climbing through a window of the van as if she was locked out.
Once officers pulled over the couple, it was noted that Petito was crying nonstop. According to the report,"at no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands."
The officer spoke individually with Laundrie who blamed their "emotional strain" on the time they had been spending together. He said that small arguments were turned into bigger fights due to Petito's "serious anxiety." Petito admitted to hitting Laundrie, scratching his face and arms. Marks on Laundrie's face were visible in the bodycam footage.
Once all was said and done, the officer noted that the couple was "in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn't want to see anyone charged with a crime," so he brought Laundrie to a hotel after the couple agreed to be apart for the night so that Petito could cool off in the van. Police did not refer to the incident as a domestic assault, but rather "a mental/emotional break."
Laundrie returned home alone, without Petito
More than two weeks after their Moab incident, Laudrie arrived back at home in Florida on September 1, without his fiance. On September 11, Petito's parents reported her missing. Authorities were able to find the van that belonged to the couple at Laundrie's parents' house.
Being that Laundrie is both Petito's boyfriend and the last known person to have seen her, he is a person of interest in the case. One major problem that investigators are facing is that he isn't talking.
Utah police "not ruling anything out" in possible connection to double homicide
Authorities in Utah say they're not ruling anything out when it comes to any potential connections between both the search for Gabby Petito and the double homicide involving two newlyweds in the Moab area.
Petito's parents are disgusted with Laundrie's lack of cooperation
Up to this point, Laundrie has refused to talk with police, and authorities have made it clear that the lack of information that he could very easily provide is what is holding this investigation back.
The North Port police chief knows the answers will eventually come out, but continues to route any questions through Laundrie's attorney, Steven Bertolino who says that this is a time where his client must be careful with what he says.
In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you’ is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance. As such, on the advice of counsel, Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter.
While law enforcement has been very diplomatic in their approach to get Laundrie to talk, Petito's family is choosing not to mince words. The last time Petito's family saw Gabby she was hiking in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming while video-chatting with her mom around August 25. After texting back and forth for a few days, Gabby went silent.
The family issued a statement questioning Laundrie's decision to sit "in the comfort of his home" while others "frantically" searched for their daughter.
Brian, how could you do this to Gabby? You selfishly remain silent while Gabby is all alone in the wilderness. Brian, your silence is reprehensible! We beg you to do the right thing and help us bring Gabby home. Brian, whatever happened in Wyoming, happened. The only thing you can control is what you do now. Tell us where Gabby is. You tarnish your love for her with your silence.
Petito's mother says they aren't eating or sleeping as they are restless in their search for Gabby. The family asks anyone hiking trails to keep an eye out for their daughter.
Although Laundrie and his parents refuse to speak, late Thursday night, ABC dropped an exclusive video announcing more from Laundrie's sister who says she wants Gabby to be found safe. The full interview is set to air Friday moring on GMA.
The FBI is involved in the search and encourages anyone with information to contact its tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).