Emotional new police bodycam footage has revealed the moment Utah cops asked missing ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito why she slapped her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a dramatic incident 13 days before she disappeared on their cross-country trip.
The video shows Petito, 22, sitting in the back of a police cruiser with tears streaming down her face as she tells an officer she ‘was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down.’
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘got me with her phone’.
The couple had been traveling around the country in their camper van since early July and were visiting Moab, Utah when they got into an altercation, an incident report reveals.
The report says officers were called near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12 around 4:30pm for a ‘possible domestic violence’ incident involving the couple.
The report, released by the Moab Police Department on Wednesday, documented that the couple admitted they had been going through ‘issues’ over the last couple days.
Petito was reported missing a month later on September 11 after her family hadn’t heard from her in 13 days. She last spoke to her mother on the phone on August 25 and her last known location was Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Laundrie returned to their home in North Port, Florida, alone on September 1 in the couple’s camper van – which has now been seized by police.
On Wednesday police officially named Laundrie a ‘person of interest’ in her mystery disappearance and said he is refusing to cooperate with their investigation.
Laundrie’s attorney released a statement saying he is not speaking to police or making a statement ‘on the advice of counsel’ because ‘intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus their attention on in cases like this.’
Petito’s father Jon told Fox & Friends the focus must be ‘to make sure we get my daughter home first’ and then ‘we’ll start worrying about Brian’ later.
‘I don’t care what happens to him right now,’ he said.
‘That can’t be my primary focus if he’s going to sit in the comfort of his home, you know, and get home cooked meals, why my daughter’s out, you know, God knows where, you know, I don’t give two craps about him.’
‘I got to be out there to help her, because the one person who is supposed to be leading the charge is sitting home in his lazy boy chair, you know, not talking to anybody.’
Emotional new police bodycam footage has revealed the moment Utah cops asked missing ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito why she slapped her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a dramatic incident 13 days before she disappeared during their cross-country trip
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells the officer were caused when Petito ‘got me with her phone’ and ‘was trying to get the keys from me’
The statement from Brian Laundrie’s attorney:
‘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 focus 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 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 of attention of law enforcement and Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel.’
The bodycam footage, obtained by ABC, shows an officer reporting that the driver of a vehicle ahead is showing ‘obscure driving’, driving 45mph in a 15mph road, and is ‘possibly intoxicated.’
He says the vehicle has bumped a curb and puts the sirens on.
The officer then gets out the vehicle and approaches the couple’s white camper van, which they have pulled over.
Petito, who is crying, is seen sitting in the the passenger seat and Laundrie is driving.
The officer asks them to turn off the vehicle and asks their names and ‘what’s going on? Why are you crying?’
‘We’ve just been fighting this morning, some personal issues,’ says Petito.
Laundrie says it was ‘a long day’ of camping yesterday.
The officer asks Petito to step out of the vehicle and takes her down the road, separating the couple to ask her what happened.
‘I have OCD and I was just cleaning and straightening…,’ she says, while sobbing.
‘And I was apologizing to him and saying I’m sorry that I am so mean as sometimes I am so mean because I have OCD and get really frustrated.
‘Not like mean towards him I guess my vibe is like in a bad mood and I said I’m sorry I’m in a bad mood I am stressed I had so much work.’
She tells the officer they are traveling the country and trying to ‘build a blog’.
‘We have been fighting all morning and he wouldn’t let me in the car before,’ she says.
When the officer asks why he wouldn’t let her in the car, she says ‘he told me needed to calm down’ adding that he ‘really stresses me out’ and that it’s ‘been a rough morning.’
The officer tells Petito she is ‘not in any trouble’ and escorts her to the back of the cop car so she can ‘take a breathe’ and have ‘a few minutes.’
The officer then asks Laundrie to step out the vehicle and asks him what has happened.
‘She gets really worked up sometimes and I try to distance myself from it,’ Laundrie says.
Petito is later seen sitting in the back of a car – a distressed expression on her face and her hands clasped in front of her on her lap.
The car door is wide open with the officer stood talking to her inside.
‘Were you attempting to cause him physical pain or impairment? Is that what you were attempting to do to him?’ he asks.
Petito, who is looking at the officer, replies no.
A newly released police report has revealed new details of the ‘possible domestic violence’ incident involving Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, two weeks before she vanished
‘What were you attempting to do?’ the cop asks.
‘What was the reason behind the slapping and stuff? What was it you were attempting to accomplish by the slapping?’
‘I was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down,’ Petito says, as her face crumples in tears.
The officer replies to her that ‘it doesn’t sound good.’
Later in the footage, the officer is seen telling Petito he will be keeping her and Laundrie apart for the night.
‘I am separating you two tonight, okay?’ the officer is heard telling Petito.
The 22-year-old nods through tears in response and mouths ‘okay.’
‘I want you guys both to be tonight, away from each other,’ the officer says.
‘Relax, breathe, because there’s no need to be crying now,’ he tells Petito.
Petito nods and wipes tears from her eyes.
‘I understand that this can feel like a nightmare,’ the officer says.
‘But you have come out as the golden flower on top.’
According to the document, cops were called to a local business in Moab, Utah on August 12, after a witness reported seeing the couple ‘arguing over a phone’ outside their van
In his report, responding officer Daniel Scott Robbins said he pulled the couple over as they were driving towards Arches National Park and noticed Gabby ‘crying uncontrollably’ in the passenger seat
According to the incident report, a witness, identified only as Christopher, reported seeing the pair ‘arguing over a phone.’
The bystander told police that when Laundrie got into the couple’s van, he saw ‘what appeared to him as Gabrielle hitting Brian in the arm and then climbing through the driver’s window as if Brian had locked her out and she was trying to find a way in,’ responding officer Daniel Scott Robbins wrote.
Robbins later located the couple, who had already left the area by then, driving in their Ford Transit van towards Arches National Park and pulled them over.
He said he noticed Gabby ‘crying uncontrollably’ in the passenger seat as he approached the vehicle and asked to speak to her outside.
The report was redacted to conceal sensitive information but suggests Gabby told police she and Laundrie became embroiled in an altercation that was fueled by mental health issues.
‘Gabrielle told me that she suffers from [redacted] with [redacted],’ Robbins wrote.
‘Because of her [redacted] and [redacted], combined with little arguments she and Brian had been having that day, she was struggling with her mental health, which led to the incident that was reported to law enforcement.’
He added that at ‘no point’ in his investigation did Gabby ‘stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands.’
Robbins later interviewed Laundrie, who told the cop that issues between him and his girlfriend ‘had been building over the last few days’
Cops received reports of a possible domestic violence incident near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12
The above map illustrates the places Petito and Laundrie visited since the start of the trip leaving New York on July 2 to when she last spoke to her family on August 25 from Grand Teton National Park
Robbins said that he had seen Petito and Laundrie’s van traveling 45mph in a 15mph zone while he tried to catch up to them earlier and activated his lights to initiate a traffic stop.
But upon doing so, he noticed the vehicle abruptly swerve to the right and the rear right wheels hit the curb before finally coming to a stop.
Robbins said Petito later told him that this was a result of her trying to get Laundrie’s ‘attention to notice me as I was behind them with my lights on’ and that she did not intend to hurt him.
But during his conversation with the cop shortly after, Laundrie said that when he noticed police lights flashing behind them, he thought Gabby ‘had grabbed the wheel of the van and pulled it, causing the van to hit the curb.’
The report says Laundrie told the officer both he and Gabby suffer from the same problem and that issues between the two ‘had been building over the last few days.’
‘This in turn, caused them to argue more than usual,’ Robbins wrote. ‘Brian explained he and Gabrielle have been traveling together for the last four or five months.
‘That time spent created emotional strain between them and increased the number of arguments.’
Police on Tuesday revealed they responded to an ‘incident’ involving 22-year-old ‘van-life woman’ Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, two weeks before she was last seen
Gabby’s family lashed out at the Laundries in a statement Tuesday. ‘Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers.’
Laundrie went on to describe the events leading up to the altercation, saying he and Gabby had gotten into an argument near Main Street and he tried to create space between them ‘so they could calm their emotions.’
He said he then got into their van and that Gabby went into a ‘manic state.’
‘Brian said Gabrielle, thinking he was going to leave her in Moab without a ride, went to slap him,’ the report states.
He then pushed her away in an attempt to dodge the hit, but still sustained minor visible scratches to his face.
When questioned about the scratches to his right arm, Brian told Robbins they must’ve happened when Gabby was trying to alert him that they were being pulled over by police, the report states.
‘This, however, was not consistent with Gabrielle’s statement, further suggesting her confused and emotional state,’ the officer wrote.
Robbins later concluded that he did not believe the situation ‘escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.’
According to officer, both expressed a ‘desire to remain together and ultimately agreed to be separated’ with Brian staying in a hotel room and Gabby in the van until the following day.
A statement provided by a second responding officer, Eric Pratt, said Laundrie was assessed to be ‘at low risk of danger or harm as a result of his proximity’ to Gabby and no charges were filed.
Nicole Schmidt, of Long Island, New York, gave a teary-eyed interview to reporters in Bohemia on Monday afternoon about her daughter Gabby Petitio, who has been missing since August 24. Schmidt tells DailyMail.com that on September 10 she texted Brian and his mother Roberta trying to get in touch with Gabby, but neither replied
On Tuesday, Moab Chief of Police Bret Edge confirmed that cops had responded to an incident involving the pair but they later ‘determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,’ Fox News reported.
He did not disclose additional details at the time.
Addressing reports of the incident on Wednesday, Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s irrelevant. Two people traveling together with each other 24 hours a day, it’s not going to be perfect, it was an argument, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.’
Petito, who had been traveling across the country with Laundrie in their camper van since July 2, was last known to have been visiting Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on August 25.
She was reported missing by her mother on September 11, two weeks after she had last spoken on to her on the phone, and ten days after Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Florida without her.
Laundrie, who drove to Florida in the van he shared with Petito, has since hired a lawyer and refused to tell Petito’s family where she was last seen.
Schmidt sent her daughter’s boyfriend and his family desperate texts looking for her but was ignored.
Schmidt said they’d been a couple for a little over two years, but met growing up in Long Island. ‘They went to high school together. They were friends. They got back in touch and started dating’
Gabby set out on a cross-country trip July 2 with boyfriend Brian Laundrie in the couple’s 2012 Ford Transit van. Brian posted this photo of the couple on Instagram on July 16 at Zion National Park
Schmidt told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that on September 10 she reached out to Brian and his mother Roberta Laundrie trying to reach her daughter after she had not heard from her.
The gloves are off: Schmidt and Petito want answers
The Schmidt and Petito family are going through the worst moments of their lives. Their beautiful twenty-two year old daughter is missing and the one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help. Brian Laundrie was traveling with Gabby in the Grand Teton – Yellowstone area. They were traveling together in Gabby’s 2012 Ford Transit van. That is where we believe Gabby was last seen.
Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers.
The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not ‘remain in the background’ but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life. How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located?
The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area.
‘I texted Brian’s mom that I was trying to get in touch with Gabby. I also texted Brian. I got no replies,’ Schmidt said.
‘I knew something was wrong,’ she said. ‘I felt something was off and I needed to get her reported missing immediately.’
She went to report Gabby missing later that day but police initially blew her off. The next day, she was allowed to file a report with the Suffolk County police department.
Brian’s family have since refused to let authorities interview their son when the van that the couple had traveled in before she disappeared was seized from their property late on Saturday night.
Schmidt said Brian’s sister Cassie is the only member of Brian’s family who has spoken to authorities.
She said she can’t understand why neither Brian nor his parents have reached out to her in the aftermath of her daughter’s disappearance.
‘It’s a very mysterious situation. We don’t understand why he’s doing this. Everybody’s assuming the worst and thinking he’s guilty of this. But I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe she’s just in need of help out there and that everybody needs to keep searching.’
Schmidt described how Brian’s parents had been warm and welcoming to Gabby during their relationship. She recalled a time when his mother even knitted her future daughter-in-law gifts for Christmas.
‘She loved her like a daughter,’ Schmidt said. ‘As far as I knew they were all very caring and treated her like one of the family. His mom was so excited about the engagement.’
The distraught mother also clarified that Gabby and Brian had been engaged, but decided to call it off and go back to just dating because they felt they were too young for marriage.
‘I think they kind of put that on hold just because they felt it was a little fast. They were excited at first, but then they were like, let’s just wait, we’re very young. So they were really just boyfriend and girlfriend,’ she said.
She said they’d been a couple for a little over two years, but met growing up in Long Island.
‘They went to high school together. They were friends. They got back in touch and started dating,’ she said.
Brian Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta refused to let police speak with their son. He returned to their home on North Port,Florida on September 1
Above is the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida, where Brian Laundrie returned in the couple’s van without Gabby after their trip
In light of the disappearance, Schmidt says she’s now viewing everything under a new lens.
‘Maybe the relationship wasn’t what I thought,’ she said.
Schmidt has recently seen photos in the news of Brian’s father performing yard work.
‘If they cared about her, they would want to find her,’ she said. ‘Why aren’t you out helping find her?’
‘I don’t want to seem accusatory,’ she said. ‘It’s confusing, my mind is turning right now.’
She’s also questioning Brian’s trip back to Florida in August to help his father move their things into a storage unit. She wonders why it was necessary to move Gabby’s things during their road trip and what became of her stuff.
‘Where are her things?’ she asked.
Asked why Brian chose to lawyer up, she replied, ‘You know I wish I knew that answer, why.’
‘I know that’s the reason this story is so sought after is because it’s odd. The police have said it’s very odd. We don’t know what’s going on, and where is my daughter. I just want to find her.’
Gabby, who grew up in Blue Point, New York, was last seen on August 24 checking out of a hotel with Brian in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The following day she made her final call to her family, telling them that she and Brian had traveled to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Her last Instagram post on August 25, shows her visiting the Monarch Wall in Ogden, Utah with the caption ‘Happy Halloween’. The pair were heading from Ogden to Yellowstone National Park, just north of Grand Teton.