Gabby Petito: Utah officers were told man was seen hitting woman before couple was pulled over, dispatch records show

Witness claimed Brian Laundrie struck his fiancé

Gino Spocchia
Monday 27 September 2021 17:00

Body of Gabby Petito identified after going missing

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Police officers in Utah were told that a 911 caller who reported an argument between Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie had seen a man hitting a woman, dispatch records show.

According to the records, the person who reported the incident “states a seeing male hit a female, domestic”. the dispatcher said shortly before the couple was pulled over by the police.

“He got into a white Ford Transit van, has a black ladder on the back, Florida plate.”

After the couple were pulled over by police, body cam footage shows Ms Petito saying that she had hit Mr Laundrie, with police appearing to view the incident as a mental health crisis rather than domestic violence.

Police later faced criticism for not filing the incident as domestic violence, with 22-year-old Ms Petito later vanishing and dying from homicide, as a coroner said last week, after her remains were recovered from Wyoming.

Her fiancé and road trip partner, Mr Laundrie, did not cooperate with police investigating her disappearance and went missing in Florida shortly before he was named as a person of interest. The 23-year-old remains missing.

Police who spoke to the couple in Utah were thought to have been unaware about the pair’s argument shortly beforehand – and thought that was the aggressor.

As Fox 13 News reported, the dispatch records suggest that police were told about the witness seeing Mr Laundrie allegedly hit Ms Petito, but did not treat him as the aggressor, in apparent violation of Utah law.

Police in Utah are legally required to arrest or issue a citation when there is a “probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed”, as was suggested by the witness.

The revelation comes after city officials in Utah said it would investigate the department in Moab for failing to respond Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie’s argument appropriately.

Two weeks after the Moab incident, she made final contact with family before going missing when Mr Laundrie returned without her on 11 September.

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