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Police video shows emotional Gabby Petito before vanishing

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 12:01 PM EDT
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Police in Utah have released bodycam video that shows an interaction they had with Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in August -- about a month before the Florida woman was reported missing.

The video was recorded on Aug. 12 by the Moab Police Department following a call reporting a domestic incident between the couple.

RELATED: New evidence revealed involving missing North Port woman

It shows police pull over the couple's white van near Arches National Park after they were involved in an argument that became physical.

Laundrie had scratches on his face and arm in the video, which he told police occurred after they had an altercation.

Petito, 22, a resident of North Port, Florida, is noticeably emotional and crying for much of the video, which is more than an hour long.

Police in Utah release bodycam video involving Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie

During the interview with police, the Florida woman tells the officers that she has "a lot of anxiety and stress."

Laundrie told police he and Petito had issues that were building after traveling together for four to five months, creating an emotional strain and a number of arguments.

The report said Petito was slapping Laundrie, and he grabbed her face and pushed her away while trying to lock her out of the van, but she got inside.

RELATED: Timeline of Gabby Petito's cross-country trip and disappearance

Laundrie is listed as the victim and Petito as the suspect in the police report, but officers decided not to file charges in the case.

"After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis," the police report said.

Police bodycam video recorded in Moab, Utah, shows their interaction with Brian Laundrie on...
Police bodycam video recorded in Moab, Utah, shows their interaction with Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12.

Following the interaction with police, the couple told officers they were in love and didn't want anyone to be charged.

Police ended up getting Laundrie a hotel room that night so they could spend some time apart for their mental health. Petito maintained possession of the van that night.

Laundrie later returned to his home in North Port, Florida, in the van on Sept. 1 without Petito, prompting her family to report her missing on Sept. 11.

Police on Wednesday called Laundrie a person of interest in the case.

Watch Thursday police news conference below:

North Port police share details on investigation of missing Florida woman Gabby Petito

"Where's Gabby"

Investigators in North Port held a news conference Thursday to share the latest developments in the case.

Chief of Police Todd Garrison said they continue to have investigators working around the clock in conjunction with the FBI.

Garrison said the investigation is considered a missing person case.

"We share the frustration with the world right now," Garrison said. "Two people went on a trip, one person returned, and that person who returned isn't providing us any information."

Petito's father, Joseph, spoke at the briefing and gave an emotional plea for help from the community for details in the disappearance of his daughter.

"I'm asking for help from the parents of Brian [Laundrie], and I'm asking for help of the family members and friends of the Laundrie family as well," Joseph Petito said. "Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I'm asking for that help."

Garrison was asked about the bodycam video recorded in Utah on Aug. 12 and whether or not it was significant to the investigation.

"We look at everything that's coming in. As far as that having to do anything with the disappearance, we don't know," Garrison said. "Yes, they had a disturbance. Yes, it was captured on body camera, their interaction with law enforcement, but beyond that, I don't know what it has to do with the disappearance."

Richard Stafford, an attorney for the family of Gabby Petito, holds a news conference in New...
Richard Stafford, an attorney for the family of Gabby Petito, holds a news conference in New York on Sept. 16, 2021.

Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, said she last heard from her daughter on Aug. 25 when they spoke on the phone. At that time, Schmidt said her daughter was at Grand Teton National Park.

However, Garrison said Thursday that currently there is not a search on the ground looking for the missing woman as they continue to attempt to narrow down geographic areas.

Police said they can't force Laundrie to speak about the investigation since it's his constitutional right to remain quiet.

The couple's van continues to be analyzed for clues in the case, but Garrison could not share any further details if anything significant had been located.

An attorney for the missing woman's family made a passionate plea to the Laundrie family Thursday during a news conference in New York.

"Please, if you or your family have any decency left, please tell us where Gabby is located. Tell us if we are even looking in the right place. All we want is for Gabby to come home. Please help us make that happen," said family attorney Richard Stafford.

The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips. 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). Police said so far they have received hundreds of tips, which are being vetted through multiple agencies.

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