Police in Moab, Utah have released body camera footage of an Aug. 12 suspected domestic incident in which Gabrielle Petito, 22, and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, said they got into a fight. Ultimately, officers voiced sympathy for the couple but asked them to split up for the night, with Laundrie going to a hotel and Petito taking her van.
Petito went missing during the couple’s cross-country road trip. Laundrie is revealing nothing publicly; his attorney has recommended that he not speak to law enforcement.
As previously reported, police said the couple popped up on their radar when a witness claimed to see Petito hitting Laundrie in the arm. Cops ultimately determined based on their statements that she hit her boyfriend and that he grabbed her face.
As seen in the bodycam video, the couple spoke to officers separately and appeared amicable. Neither requested the other be arrested, and neither described a history of physical abuse.
Petito said the dispute resulted from Laundrie’s refusal to allow her to enter the van the couple was driving and from Laundrie telling her she needed to calm down. Petito described having OCD, said that Laundrie stresses her out, and said that she would become frustrated. She said she apologized for being mean to him.
“This is a rough morning,” she said.
Laundrie said that Petito gets worked up sometimes and that when she does, he tries to distance himself from her. He said they had been having minor relationship problems. For example, they expressed that one dispute involved staying at a coffee shop for too long.
“There’s a lot of little things,” he said.
Laundrie said he locked the van and walked away from Petito. He said he told her they should go in separate directions while she took a breather. He claimed Petito tried to take the van’s keys from him. Petito was already swinging when he pushed her back, he said.
“I didn’t get overtly physical,” Laundrie said on the recording. “I’m just trying to keep her away and not get hit.”
Petito’s New York-based family reported her missing on Sept. 11, almost a full month after the body camera recording occurred. They told the authorities they last communicated with the now-missing young woman in late August. Laundrie had already returned to the couple’s home in North Port, Fla. with the van in which he was traveling on Sept. 1, cops have said. Police have said he is a person of interest Petito’s disappearance.
Petito’s family and the police are asking Laundrie to say what happened to Petito. Steven Bertolino, an attorney for Laundrie, told The New York Times in a statement that he recommended his client not to talk to investigators because in his experience, intimate partners are the first people that law enforcement focus on in cases like this.
“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,” he wrote to the Times.
Petito and Laundrie grew up together on Long Island. He later moved to Florida with his parents, and she moved to Florida to join him.
[Screengrab via Moab Police Department]
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