Witness statement recalls Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie domestic dispute in Utah

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Autopsy confirms Gabby Petito's remains found in Wyoming
Kristin Thorne has the latest on the Gabby Petito case and the manhunt underway for her fiance Brian Laundrie.

MOAB, Utah (WABC) -- Police have released a written statement from a person who witnessed the domestic dispute between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in August.

In the statement reported on August 12, the witness, named Chris, claims that the couple appeared to have some sort of dispute and recalls Petito punching Laundrie in the arm and face.

Moab Police Department in Utah responded to the incident that day, located the van and pulled the couple over.

The witness says "it was as if the guy was trying to leave her, and maybe take her phone." At one point during the encounter, the witness says he overheard Petito say to Laundrie, "why do you have to be so mean?"

He writes that he couldn't tell if the two were "play fighting" but said the altercation "didn't seem right."

Read the full transcribed statement:

"At approximately 4:30 p.m., I arrived at Moonflower. While standing on the south side of the street, I observed a man and woman appear to have some sort of a dispute. They were talking aggressively at each other and something seemed off. At one point they were sort of fighting over a phone, I think the male took the female's phone. It appeared that he didn't want her in the white van. He got into the drivers seat and she followed him. At one point she was punching him in the arm and/or face and trying to get into the van. "

She eventually climbed in over him and over the passenger seat. I heard her say, "Why do you have to be so mean?" I wasn't sure how serious this was - it was hard to tell if it was sort of play fighting, but from my point of view something definitely didn't seem right. It was as if this guy was trying to leave her, and maybe take her phone? Not sure but wanted to help out. I noticed another person had called this in, and as soon as I left the store, I noticed a police officer and gave him my contact info.

The statement comes just one day after a 911 call was released documenting the same dispute.

The 911 caller claimed he witnessed Brian Laundrie "slapping" Gabby Petito and chasing her up and down a sidewalk.

Police released body camera footage of the traffic stop and wrote in a report that the couple, identified as Laundrie and Petito, admitted to arguing and that Petito had slapped Laundrie.

The incident occurred just several weeks before Petito was reported missing by her family.

MORE: Police body cam video shows Gabby Petito, fiancé after 911 call

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

Police have released audio of the full 2-minute and 30-second call. The caller's name was not released.

Read the full transcript of the call below:

Dispatcher: Grand County Sheriff's Office. Hi, can you hear me sir?

Caller: Yeah. Hi, I'm calling. I'm right on the corner of Main Street by moonflower. And we're driving by and I'd like to report a domestic dispute to Florida with a white that Florida license plate. White Van, gentlemen. 5'6 Beard.

Dispatcher: Where's it at?

Caller: They just drove off. They're going down Main Street. They made a right onto Main Street for a moonflower

Dispatcher: Or what were they doing?

Caller: But what do you say?

Dispatcher: What were they doing?

Caller: We drove by him a gentleman was slapping the girl

Dispatcher: He was slapping her?

Caller: Yes. And then we stop. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her hops in the car. And they drove off

Dispatcher: You say that was a white van?

Caller: White van, I can give you the the license plate if you give me one sec. I took.

Dispatcher: What kind of white van like a big one?

Caller: It was a smaller van with the license plate of it was white. Florida license plate QFCG03. It was the make was a Ford Model was transit. Black ladder on the passenger side.

Dispatcher: Black ladder passenger side.

Caller: White Ford Transit.

Dispatcher: White Ford Transit. Okay, what's your name? (Long pause) And where did they? So they turned. They headed south on Main Street from Moonflower Market?

caller: Correct. They made the right turn.

Dispatcher: So they went north.

Caller: North. Yeah. So I'm not from around here.

Dispatcher: Okay. So you're right there by the post office.

Caller: right across the street. Yep.

Dispatcher Okay. And when they turned on to Main Street, they went right or left?

Caller: Right.

Dispatcher: Right. So they went north, north on Main. All right. I will let somebody know. Thank you.

Caller: Yeah, no worries.

Dispatcher: Bye.

Gabby Petito disappearance timeline: What we know so far


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