New bodycam video reveals emotional Utah incident between Gabby Petito and boyfriend
Gabrielle Petito, 22, reported missing by family on Sept. 11
North Port police name boyfriend Brian Laundrie as person of interest, describe him as uncooperative with the investigation
Van used by Petito and Laundrie on cross-country road trip recovered by North Port police
Laundrie’s attorney releases statement saying Laundrie will be “remaining in the background” of the investigation
Police release bodycam video of Aug. 12 incident between the couple
NORTH PORT, Fla — Moab Police released bodycam video Thursday showing an emotional Gabby Petito following an altercation with her boyfriend in Utah just weeks before her disappearance.
The North Port Police Department is expected to speak about the incident in a press conference Thursday at noon.
The boyfriend of Gabrielle (Gabby) Petito was named a person of interest on Wednesday by North Port police in her disappearance while the couple was on a cross-country road trip.
Brian Laundrie’s attorney released a new statement Wednesday night that reads:
“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.”
Petito was reported missing by her family on September 11, just before 7 p.m. The 22-year-old North Port woman, originally from New York, had been on a “van life journey” with her boyfriend, Laundrie, when she disappeared.
Petito is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 110 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has several tattoos including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads ‘let it be,’ police said.
So far, Laundrie has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or provided any helpful details about Petito’s disappearance, North Port police said.
Laundrie had returned home to North Port on Sept. 1 alone.
GABBY’S FAMILY SPEAKS OUT
The Petito & Schmidt families released the following statement Wednesday in response to Laundrie being named a person of interest:
“Every day the search for Gabby continues the Schmidt and Petito family becomes more desperate. They are frantically searching for answers and information in their daughter’s disappearance while Brian sits in the comfort of his home.
Brian claims he wants to sit in the background while we search for Gabby in the wilderness of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
Brian left Gabby in the wilderness with grizzly bears and wolves while he sits in the comfort of his home. In his home!
Brian, how could you do this to Gabby? You selfishly remain silent while Gabby is all alone in the wilderness.
Brian, your silence is reprehensible! We beg you to do the right thing and help us bing Gabby home.
Brian, whatever happened in Wyoming, happened. The only thing you can control is what you do now. Tell us where Gabby is.
You tarnish your love for her with your silence.”
-Richard Stafford, family spokesperson
The white Ford van that Petito and Laundrie were driving across the country was recovered by North Port police on Sept. 11, the same day Petito was reported missing, at Petito and Laundrie’s home.
“The van is here. We have it under safekeeping. We’re working with the FBI that will be a very thorough process with all of their skillsets and ours to discover anything that may be there,” Josh Taylor with the North Port Police Department said.
“We currently have no definitive information that a crime took place here in North Port,” NPPD said in a statement. “With that said, the circumstances are odd.”
An attorney for Laundrie provided this statement on Tuesday:
“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. 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.”
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
July 2, 2021 – Gabrielle Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie leave New York in white Ford van and travel west on cross-country road trip, both Laundrie and Petito posting frequently on Instagram
August 12 – Utah police officers respond to incident involving Petito and Laundrie, reported by third party. No charges filed.
August 19 – Petito posts YouTube video ‘Beginning Our Van Life Journey’ documenting the initial stages of their road trip
August 21 – Petito’s father and stepmother speak to Gabby in their last FaceTime call with her while she was in Utah
August 25 – Petito posts on Instagram for the last time with caption of ‘Happy Halloween’
August 30 – Petito’s mother receives her final communication from Gabby’s phone, in the form of a text. Family believes Petito was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
September 1 – Laundrie returns home to North Port alone
September 11 – Petito is reported missing by family. On the same day, white Ford van is found in North Port at Petito and Laundrie’s home
September 13 – Local authorities & the FBI release information to the public asking for tips on Petito’s whereabouts
September 14 – Laundrie’s lawyer releases statement saying Laundrie will be ‘remaining in the background’ of the investigation
September 14 – Petito’s family releases statement begging Laundrie to come forward with information on Petito’s whereabouts
September 15 – North Port police name Laundrie as person of interest, describe him as uncooperative with investigation
BEFORE GABBY’S DISAPPEARANCE
Petito and Laundrie had posted a YouTube video that documented the couple’s beginning stages of their cross-country road trip.
During the couple’s trip, Utah police officers confirmed they responded to an incident involving Laundrie and Petito on August 12, about a month before she was reported missing. Neither Laundrie nor Petito were the reporting party.
A witness told officers they had seen Laundrie and Petito get into a physical altercation outside of their van. The couple told officers they had gotten into an argument when Petito began slapping Laundrie. He reportedly grabbed Petito’s face and pushed her back.
SEE THE FULL BODYCAM VIDEO FROM THE INCIDENT BELOW:
The couple told officers they did not want any charges to be filed. Instead, police made arrangements for the couple to separate for the night.
Petito sent updates to her family several times a week after the trip started on July 2. She last spoke with her father and stepmother on Facetime on Aug. 21.
Her mom, Nichole Schmidt, last heard from Petito on Aug. 30. Her family believed she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when they heard from her last.
Family members said they noticed the 22-year-old’s Instagram posts slowing down toward the end of August around the same time they lost communication with her.
On Wednesday morning, Petito’s Instagram account was briefly taken down. It was restored hours later. North Port police said they are still investigating why her page was taken down.
North Port police said foul play is not out of the question.
“You know we’re in the job of preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. So we are not in a position to just hope that we find her and then start an investigation, which might be of more significance. We have to play both right now,” Taylor said.
The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips: 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). Tips can also be submitted to tips.fbi.gov.