Gabby Petito investigation: 911 call reveals Brian Laundrie seen hitting, 'slapping' her before disappearance
MOAB, Utah - The 911 caller who reported a "domestic dispute" between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito in Moab, Utah, on Aug. 12 was heard telling a dispatcher that "the gentleman was slapping the girl" and hitting her, Fox News has confirmed Monday after exclusively obtaining the audio of the call.
"He was slapping her?" the dispatcher was heard asking.
"Yes, and then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off," the caller added.
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The audio provides a closer glimpse at the circumstances surrounding the couple’s encounter with police weeks before Petito vanished. A body that investigators believed to be Petito’s turned up Sunday in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, while Laundrie’s current whereabouts Monday remain unknown.
The 911 call apparently contradicted a prior report written by police in which a responding officer had written that "no one reported that the male struck the female."
Last week, Fox News reported that a witness had called 911 around 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 over "possible domestic violence" near Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab and said he saw Petito and Laundrie arguing over a phone.
"The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie," a responding officer wrote in a police report, citing conversations he had with Petito, Laundrie, and the witness.
"The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him," the report said. "He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off."
A responding officer initially wrote that he believes "it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female," but later wrote that "no one reported that the male struck the female."
An officer eventually pulled the van over and said that when he approached, Petito was "crying uncontrollably" in the passenger seat.
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One of the responding officers said the incident can be "more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault," and that "no significant injuries" were reported.
Laundrie stayed in a hotel that night, while Petito stayed with the van, according to the report.
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911 CALL TRANSCRIPT:
Dispatcher: Grand County Sheriff's Office.
Caller: Hi, can you hear me, sir?
Dispatcher: Yeah, I can hear you.
Caller: Hi, I’m calling, I’m right on the corner of Main Street by Moonflower and we're driving by and I'd like to report a domestic dispute, Florida with a white van, Florida license plate, white van.
Dispatcher: Where's it at?
Caller: They just drove off. They're going down Main Street. They made a right on Main Street from Moonflower.
Dispatcher: What were they doing?
Caller: What'd you say?
Dispatcher: What were they doing?
Caller: We drove by 'em, a gentleman was slapping the girl.
Dispatcher: He was slapping her?
Caller: Yes, and then we stopped, they ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.
Dispatcher: OK, you say that's a white van?
Caller: It's a white van. I can give you the license plate if you give me one [second] I took a picture of it.
Dispatcher: What kind of white van, like a big one?
Caller: Um it was a smaller van, with a license place of, it was white, Florida license plate [redacted]. It was, the make was a Ford, model was Transit, black ladder on the passenger side.
Dispatcher: Black ladder, passenger side.
Caller: White Ford Transit
Dispatcher: White Ford Transit, and what was your name?
Dispatcher: And where did they, so they turned, they headed south on Main Street from Moonflower Market?
Caller: Correct, they made the right turn.
Dispatcher: Oh, so they went north?
Caller: North, yes sir, I'm not from around here.
Dispatcher: So, you're right there by the post office?
Caller: Right across the street, yep.
Dispatcher: And when they turned onto Main Street they went right or left?
Dispatcher: Right so they went north, north on Main, alright I'll let somebody know thank you.