Police in Utah have released new footage showing Gabby Petito after a fight with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, days before she disappeared and he returned home alone from their road trip across the United States.
The footage was captured on Aug. 12 in Arches National Park, where the couple posed for several photos on their Instagram accounts.
Petito, 22, has since been declared missing and Laundrie is a person of interest after refusing to speak about the case with her family or police. The FBI and several police departments have been searching for Petito for days.
The new footage released Thursday shows Moab police officers responding to a domestic incident involving the pair, who have been engaged since last July.
In the video, an officer tries to pull the couple over for speeding and their van veers into the curb and stops. The officer then approaches the passenger window to see Petito sitting there crying, with Laundrie beside her in the driver’s seat.
“I’m not crying. We’ve just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues,” Petito says through tears.
They both tell the officer that Petito was stressed by her “van life” blog and that Laundrie locked Petito out of the van. They also say that Petito slapped Laundrie after he repeatedly told her to calm down.
“She just gets worked up sometimes. I try and really distance myself from her, so I lock the car and I like to wait for her,” Laundrie tells officers at the scene.
“I was distracting him from driving. I’m sorry,” Petito says in a separate discussion. “We’ve been fighting all morning and he wouldn’t let me in the car before.”
Laundrie tells police that he shoved Petito to prevent her from getting the car keys, and that she scratched his face with her phone. A witness also tells police that he saw Petito scrambling to get into the car.
Petito and Laundrie both say the van swerved because she grabbed the wheel, and that they were both worked up at the sight of police.
The officers ultimately declined to charge Petito with domestic assault, but they did order the pair to spend the night apart, with Laundrie sleeping at a hotel and Petito staying with the van.
Petitio and Laundrie spent the summer living in their van and travelling across the United States, stopping at various national parks along the way and documenting it all on social media.
The couple have been dating for two-and-half years, and they live with Laundrie’s parents in North Port, Fla.
Petito’s family says they became worried about their daughter in late August, when she stopped showing up for her three-times-a-week FaceTime calls with her mom. Their last call was on Aug. 23 or 24.
Laundrie arrived at the couple’s home alone with their van on Sept. 1 and has not shared any information about Petito’s whereabouts since his return. Petito’s family filed a missing persons report on Sept. 11.
Petito is described as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white woman with several tattoos. She stands five feet five inches tall and weighs approximately 110 pounds.
Authorities say they last saw the couple together on video in Salt Lake City, where footage shows them checking out of a hotel on Aug. 24. Police say they were heading to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The last photo posted on Petito’s Instagram account shows her posing in front of a butterfly mural in Ogden, Utah, on Aug. 25. The city is in northern Utah, close to the state border with Wyoming.
Petito’s mother says she last heard from her daughter in a text message on Aug. 30, but she’s not convinced that her daughter wrote the message.
Laundrie has enlisted lawyer Steve Bertolino to speak on his behalf. Bertolino has said that his client has “nothing to offer” in the case, and that he will remain “in the background” while the investigation unfolds.
“Intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses 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 with Ms. Petito’s disappearance,” Bertolino said in a statement on Thursday.
“Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel.”
Petito’s family expressed their frustration over Laundrie’s silence in a statement on Wednesday.
“Brian, how could you do this to Gabby? You selfishly remain silent while Gabby is all alone in the wilderness,” they said. “Brian, whatever happened in Wyoming, happened. The only thing you can control is what you do now. Tell us where Gabby is.”
North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison says there is no evidence of a crime at this point, and that means he can’t get a search warrant to check the couple’s home.
“We are investigating a missing person,” Garrison told Good Morning America on Thursday. “Two people went on a trip and one person returned. And that person is not talking to us.”
Garrison added that Laundrie is hindering the investigation because he has the missing “puzzle pieces” needed to figure out what happened.
“We don’t know what Brian knows, that’s the bottom line,” North Port Police public information officer Josh Taylor said. “We are hopeful to talk to him. He needs to talk to us. We need to know exactly where he was, where she was, their last locations, and the fact he was back here for 10 days.”
Police have confiscated the couple’s van.