- Tri-state police said Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, was missing on Aug. 30, last seen in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
- Newly released body camera footage from Utah Police shows Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, trying to resolve a manic episode by the side of the freeway.
- In the body camera video, Petito tells an officer that she suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder that affects her behavior.
The idyllic viral video struck a chord around the world: a lovely young couple hiking across the country together, eating granola and yogurt breakfasts, cartwheels on the beach and kissing under the great western sky.
But behind the video hides a story full of mystery, a young couple’s battle with their mental health issues and – perhaps – tragedy.
Tri-state police said Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, was missing on Aug. 30, last seen in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23, is called a person of interest in the case after he returned to the couple’s primary residence in Florida on September 1 without her.
The past few days have seen a flurry of activity in the case: a call from Petito’s father for details of what happened to his daughter, body camera footage from Moab, Utah, police showing the couple trying to solving a manic episode in the desert, and police reports revealing latent difficulties between the two due to their growing closeness on the journey across the country.
Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts on Long Island before moving to Blue Point, New York, in 2019 to live with his parents in North Port, Florida.
North Port Police are the lead agency investigating the case. No charges have been filed and Petito’s fate remains unknown. Pieces and fragments of social media posts and the couple’s police video are among the few clues to emerge in the case so far.
“He doesn’t really believe I can do anything… We fought all morning,” said Petito in tears under the intense sun shining on the edge of a Utah highway near the national park. des Arches, where she spoke to a police officer investigating a fight between the two. August’s video of the officer’s body camera footage has been released and offers a glimpse into the couple’s issues, around two weeks before his disappearance.
Gabby Petito timeline:From a road trip with Brian Laundrie to a missing persons investigation
She told an officer that she suffered from an obsessive-compulsive disorder which affects her behavior.
“Yeah, I don’t know, it’s only been a few days, I have a really bad OCD, and I was cleaning and straightening up, and apologizing to him saying I’m so mean because sometimes I have OCD and I’m frustrated, ”she said in police video footage.
A Moab police report reflects how officers tried to work sensitively with the couple who, in separate interviews with officers, described how difficult life was for them on the road.
“Gabrielle, who was in the passenger seat, was crying uncontrollably,” wrote an officer in the August 13 report. Officers wrote that the couple – while battling self-proclaimed mental health issues that led Petito to slap Laundrie – were smartly and sensitively trying to work out their issues.
Laundrie told the officer that he and Petito both suffered from the same mental health issue, although the name of the specific issue was redacted in the report. He told the investigator that Petito had problems “more advanced” than his own and that friction had built up between them for several days. Neither took any medication for their condition, Laundrie told the officer.
“Brian explained that he and Gabrielle had been traveling together for four or five months,” the officer wrote. “This time spent created emotional tension between them and increased the number of arguments. While arguing near Main Street, he had tried to part ways with her so that they could both calm their emotions. . “
He told the officer that Petito got into the couple’s conversion van and “fell into a manic state,” according to the report. She slapped him because she thought he was going to leave her in Utah without a car, Laundrie said in the report.
Laundrie says on the video that the fight started when he got into their van with dirty feet. He told officers he did not want to pursue a domestic violence charge against Petito, which officers decided was the assailant.
“I’m not going to sue anything because she’s my fiancée and I love her.” It was just a quarrel. Sorry, that must have gotten so public, ”Laundrie said on the body camera footage.
The officer concluded that “I do not believe the situation has escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.” The police told the couple to sleep in separate places for the night so that they could “reset their mental states without interference from each other.”
The couple agreed, although they told the officer they wanted to stay together, according to the report.
Petito and Landrie both told police that “they are in love and engaged and do not desperately want to see anyone charged with a crime.”
For Petito’s family, the desire to see their daughter again has been exacerbated by Laundrie’s refusal to cooperate with the police since returning to Florida alone. His lawyer, Steven Bertolino, said he advised Laundrie not to speak.
“A lot of people wonder why Mr. Laundrie wouldn’t make a statement or speak to law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito’s absence,” Bertolino said in a public statement. “In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person to enforce the law. They focus their attention on cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you’ is true, that my client may or may not have something to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance. As such, on counsel’s advice, Mr. Laundrie does not speak to this issue. “
Joe Petito, Gabby Petito’s father, has said he wants a truthful answer on what happened to his daughter.
“I care about finding Gabby,” Joe Petito said. “We will do whatever we can to find her.”