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The person who called police to report a dispute between Gabrielle "Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in Moab, Utah, last month told the operator that he witnessed him slapping her, according to a 911 call.
“We drove by him, a gentleman was slapping the girl,” the unidentified caller told the operator, WFLA reports. He said he saw the 22-year-old and Brian Laundrie, 23, running “up and down the sidewalk” before he “proceeded to hit her.”
The call was made on Aug. 12 by the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, shortly before the couple was pulled over. In body cam footage of the subsequent police stop, the couple makes no mention of Laundrie slapping Petito.
Petito can be seen telling one of the officers in that footage that Laundrie locked her out of her van. She admitted to slapping him when she felt he was going to abandon her in Moab. Petito reluctantly admitted, after one of the officers prodded her, that Laundrie grabbed her by the face and pushed her. Petito also said she hit Laundrie and called him “stupid” as they were being pulled over.
Officers noticed several injuries on Laundrie — scratches on both his face and his hand. Laundrie blamed the scratches on his hand on a wire. Police ultimately decided that Petito was the “primary aggressor.” Laundrie then laughed as they told him he was considered the victim. The officers decided not to make any arrests and instead separated the two, taking Laundrie to a hotel to spend the night and leaving Petito with the van. Both agreed to not contact each other until the next morning. Police Chief Bret Edge told Oxygen.com that police did not press charges citing a lack of evidence "to justify criminal charges."
The body cam footage also showed Petito attributing the dispute to mental health issues. She said she has obsessive-compulsive disorder and that she may have been coming off as “mean.”
"After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much that of a mental health crisis,” an officer wrote in the police report, obtained by Oxygen.com.
Weeks later, Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in Petito’s van without her. Petito's mother last spoke to her on Aug. 25 when she said she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Petito’s apparent remains were found on Sunday as investigators searched the border of that park. An autopsy to positively identify her and the manner in which she died is scheduled for today, according to the New York Post.
Laundrie apparently vanished last week after telling his family he was going for a hike on Sept. 14. His lawyer announced that he was missing on Friday, and a manhunt to find him was launched at the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County. Searches on both Saturday and Sunday turned up empty. Another search is underway Tuesday. Investigators say it is possible he has hurt himself.
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