Body camera video released of police interaction with Petito, Laundrie after 911 call

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, September 17, 2021
Police body cam video shows Gabby Petito, fiancé after 911 call
Kristin Thorne has the latest developments in the search for Gabby Petitio.

NORTH PORT, Florida (WABC) -- Police in Utah released body camera footage of officers' encounter with Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito, a 22-year-old woman originally from Long Island who disappeared on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

The Florida couple were traveling to Oregon when Petito stopped communicating with her family somewhere in Wyoming in late August.

Laundrie -- who has been named a person of interest by police in North Port, Florida -- returned to their Gulf Coast home in Petito's 2012 white Ford Transit van on September 1, 10 days before Petito was reported missing by her family in Blue Point.

The new video shows the Moab City Police Department responding to a report of a domestic incident involving the couple, called in by a third party, on August 12.

Officers located the white van and pulled it over, and the more than hour-long video shows police immediately separating Petito and Laundrie before each describes the altercation that led to the 911 call.


Moab police released the full body camera video of their interaction with Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie.

Laundrie says on the video the couple got into a minor scuffle that began when he climbed into the van with dirty feet.

"We've just been fighting this morning, some personal issues," Petito says. "Yeah, I don't know, it's just some days I have really bad OCD, and I was just cleaning and straightening up and I was apologizing to him saying that I'm so mean because sometimes I have OCD and get frustrated."

Petito is emotional as she describes the incident, crying through much of the video.

"The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie(sic) to take a walk to calm down," a responding officer wrote in the police report. "She didn't want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him. He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van."

Petito admitted that she slapped Laundrie when she thought he was going to leave her in Moab, according to the report. The couple also stated to police that Laundrie did not hit Petito.

Laundrie told officers he also has OCD and was bothered by the sand on his feet and shoes. He has visible scratches on his arms, face, and neck, and police took photos of his injuries.

Petito was nearly arrested, but since both parties said they were in love and didn't want charges pressed, the couple agreed to separate for the night. Laundrie was put up in a hotel by a domestic assault outreach group.

RELATED | Gabby Petito disappearance timeline: What we know so far

Police are "actively looking" into any connection between Petito's disappearance and the murders of Crystal Turner and Kylen Schulte, a couple who was last seen alive in Moab on August 13, the day after Petito's police incident.

The bodies of the newlyweds were found at a nearby campsite a few days later, according to KTVX. Both had suffered gunshot wounds.

In response to the investigation, Steven Bertolino, the counsel for the Laundrie family, said: "Law Enforcement has to follow protocol and all leads that they get. Whether or not these two cases deserve to be linked will be determined at some point in the future."

The FBI is also involved in the double-homicide.

Police in North Port held a news conference Thursday during which Petito's father begged for her safe return -- and for Laundrie to speak up and stop hindering the investigation.

"What I need from everybody is help," Joseph Petito said. "That goal is to bring Gabby home safely. I'm asking for help from everyone here. I'm asking for help from everyone at home. I'm asking for help from the parents of Brian, and I'm asking for help from the family members and friends of the Laundrie family as well."

At a later press conference in New York, The family's attorney, Richard Stafford, read a letter penned by the family to Laundrie's parents, begging them to provide any info they have.

"We understand you are going through a difficult time a your instinct to protect your son is strong," it read, in part. "We believe you know the location where Brian left Gabby. We beg you to tell us."

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison also spoke out about the case on "Good Morning America," saying there are no plans at the moment to obtain a search warrant for the couple's home.

"We don't have a crime in this," he said. "We are investigating a missing person...Two people went on a trip, and one person returned. And that person is not talking to us."

GMA's George Stephanopoulos talks to North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison about the search for Gabby Petito.

He said he believes Laundrie "has the pieces to the puzzle that we need to be able to find Gabby," but as of now, Laundrie has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or provided any helpful details.

"As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby's family is going through," Garrison said. "We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past few weeks. The lack of information from Brian is hindering the investigation. The answers will eventually come out."

At this point, North Port police say they do not believe the Utah incident is linked to her disappearance.

RELATED | PD: Missing woman's boyfriend a person of interest, hindering search

Kristin Thorne has the latst details in the search for missing Long Island woman Gabby Petito.

When police knocked on their home Saturday night, Laundrie's parents handed them a lawyer's phone number.

"We don't know what Brian knows, that's the bottom line," North Port Police Public Information Officer Josh Taylor said. "We are hopeful to talk to him. He needs to talk to us. We need to know exactly where he was, where she was, their last locations, and the fact he was back here for 10 days. Again, the family reported her missing 10 days later. "

Their van was processed for evidence, and Taylor said there were some materials that will be investigated further.

Petito's family released the following statement Wednesday, pleading for Laundrie to speak up:

"Everyday the search for Gabby continues the Schmidt and Petito family becomes more desperate. They are frantically searching for answers and information in their daughter's disappearance while Brian sits in the comfort of his home. Brian claims he wants to sit in the background while we search for Gabby in the wilderness of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Brian left Gabby in the wilderness with grizzly bears and wolves while he sits in the comfort of his home. In his home! 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."

Laundrie's attorney, Bertolino, spoke to Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne, confirming Laundrie is in Florida and that Bertolino has been in contact with both him and his parents. He said his client will not be speaking to police because he has "nothing to offer" them, that both families are suffering right now, and that the Laundrie family wishes the Petito family the best.

Bertolino also issued the following statement on behalf of his client, addressing Laundrie's silence.

"Many people are wondering why Mr. Laundrie would not make a statement or speak with law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito's absence. 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 with Ms. Petito's disappearance. As such, on the advice of counsel, Mr. Laundie is not speaking on the matter. I have been informed that the North Port, Florida, police have named Brian Laundrie as a 'person of interest' in this matter. This formality has not really changed the circumstances of Mr. Laundrie being the focus and attention of law enforcement, and Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel."

Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, said the last video chat she had with her daughter was August 24 or 25, though they exchanged text messages for a few days following.

She has since said she is unsure if it was her daughter actually sending those texts.

"We don't eat, we don't sleep, we're just actively looking for her," she said.

RELATED | Boyfriend of missing Long Island native issues statement through lawyer

Brian Laundrie's attorney, Steve Bertolino, issued a statement on the disappearance of Gabrielle Petito, 22.

The engaged couple had been documenting their trip on YouTube, and they were set to arrive in Portland in October.

"We were excited for them," Schmidt said. "I believe she's in danger because she's not in touch with us. She could be alone somewhere. She could be stranded somewhere in the wilderness and she needs help."

Petito is described as a white female, approximately 5-foot-5 and 110 pounds.

She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads "Let it be."

Detectives are asking anyone with information on Petito's disappearance to contact Suffolk County police at 1-800-220-TIPS, the North Port Police Department at 941-429-7382, or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.


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