Utah authorities have released body camera footage of an incident between missing camper Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who police have named as a person of interest in her disappearance.
Moab City Police Department released their hourlong response footage to a 911 call following an Aug. 12 fight between the young couple in which Petito slapped Laundrie, and he told her to calm down and take a walk.
In the police report, Laundrie is listed as the victim and Petito as the suspect, though Moab City Police Chief Bret Edge said earlier this week that there was not enough evidence for a criminal charge.
According to the police report: “The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie [sic] to take a walk to calm down. 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 told officers she suffered from serious anxiety and other medical conditions, and police eventually categorized the incident as a “mental/emotional health break” rather than domestic assault.
She also told police that tension had been growing between her and Laundrie over the past few days and had spilled over. The couple agreed to take a break from one another that night, and police helped Laundrie find a hotel room while Petito remained in possession of her white Ford van.
Petito was reported missing Saturday after her family said they hadn’t heard from her since the end of August. She was believed to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when she disappeared. Laundrie has “not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators,” police said.
The couple left for the trip on July 22 from New York and made stops in Colorado and Utah. Petito was last seen on Aug. 24 when she and Laundrie checked out of a hotel in Salt Lake City. Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she last heard from her daughter on Aug. 25, when Petito told her they were headed to Wyoming.
Schmidt said her daughter seemed “excited” about their next adventure but that she began to worry when Petito stopped communicating.
“A few days is one thing when you’re out camping, but when it starts to become seven, eight, nine, 10 days, that’s a problem,” Schmidt told ABC News.
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie during the road trip in which she went missing. Courtesy of Rick Stafford / Find Gabby
Schmidt said she received two text messages from Petito’s phone after Aug. 25 but is skeptical they had been sent by her daughter. The texts did not contain any photos or details of her whereabouts.
On Wednesday, authorities in Florida, where the couple lived, named Laundrie as a person of interest in the missing persons case.
On Thursday, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison told Good Morning America there were no plans to obtain a search warrant for Laundrie’s parents’ 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.”
He added that Laundrie had the “pieces to the puzzle” that authorities needed to find Petito.
Despite mounting pressure for Laundrie to talk, his family released a statement through their attorney, who described Petito’s disappearance as an “extremely difficult time.”
“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family,” attorney Steven Bertolino said. “It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family. On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”
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Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty
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