New dispatch audio shows that Utah police were told Brian Laundrie hit Gabby Petito before they pulled their van over on August 12, and may have violated protocol when they did not arrest him.
The audio appears to contradict earlier reports that the responding officers in Moab City, Utah were unaware of a call from a witness who claimed to have seen Laundrie slapping Petito in their white Ford transit van before driving off.
‘RP (reporting party) states seeing a male hit a female, domestic,’ the dispatcher told police at around 4.38pm local time, according to the audio, first obtained by Fox 13. ‘He got into a white Ford Transit van, has a black ladder on the back, Florida plate.’
An officer asks for further information regarding the witness, and is again told that Petito had allegedly been hit.
‘Phone number is [redacted], name’s [redacted],’ the dispatcher responds at 4:42 p.m. ‘I’m not sure [inaudible], but the female who got hit, they both, the male and the female, both got into the van and headed north.’
New dispatch audio indicates that the Moab City, Utah police officers who pulled over Gabby Petito (right) and her fiance Brian Laundrie on August 12 may have been aware that a witness had alleged seeing Laundrie slap Petito, but did not arrest neither. The police stop was recorded on the officers’ body cameras (pictured)
The new information comes as the Moab Police Department announced an independent probe on Thursday into the officers’ handing of the alleged domestic dispute about a month before Petito was found dead.
Neither police nor city officials have said whether the responding officers were aware they were dealing with a potential domestic violence incident when they pulled the couple over.
But they treated Petito as the primary aggressor in bodycam footage of the August 12 incident, after Laundrie was found with wounds on his face.
Utah law requires cops to make an arrest or issue a citation if they believe an incident of domestic violence has taken place.
Neither Petito nor Laundrie were arrested. They were instead separated for the night in an attempt to calm the situation down, before being allowed to continue on their way.
Body camera footage from the responding officers show them determining Petito was the ‘primary aggressor in the dispute after interviewing both of them, despite the call from the witness, after she admits to them that she hit Laundrie.
They pulled them over after reporting that the driver of a vehicle ahead was showing ‘obscure driving’, driving 45mph in a 15mph road, and is ‘possibly intoxicated.’
The police who pulled over Laundrie and Petito in their van ultimately determined Petito had been the aggressor in their fight. Body camera footage shows police asking why she slapped her boyfriend Laundrie in a dramatic incident 13 days before she disappeared on their cross-country trip
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone.’ Utah state law dictates that officers make an arrest or issue a citation when they have reason to believe domestic violence had taken place
One of the officers says the vehicle has bumped a curb, and turns their vehicle’s sirens on. Petito later told officers that the couple didn’t drink.
‘I think they will find that they sort of manipulated the situation to not take someone into custody,’ Brett Tolman, a former US attorney for the District of Utah told Fox News on Sunday. ‘I think the fact that they had another eyewitness that is not involved in it, and is objective, and said “he hit her” … you’re going to have a majority of officers take him into custody.’
In the audio of the 911 call obtained by DailyMail.com the male witness tells a Grant County sheriff that a ‘gentleman’ in a white van with a Florida license plate had slapped a girl in the vehicle before driving away.
The man also mentions the incident had happened ‘by Moonflower’ – likely referring to the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, where Laundrie and Petito stayed the night of August 11 and where they reportedly were seen having an explosive fight.
Moab police officers separated the couple for the night after pulling them over. The City of Moab said they are ‘unaware of any breach of Police Department policy’ in their handling of Petito and Laundrie’s domestic dispute
When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and gestures to her chin. Petito admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation
‘I’m right in the corner of Main Street by Moonflower and we are driving and I’d like to report a domestic dispute. Florida with a white van – Florida license plate, white van,’ the man says before being interrupted by the officer, who asks him what he saw exactly.
‘They just drove off. They’re going towards Main Street. They made a right onto Main Street from Moonflower. We drove by him, a gentleman was slapping the girl,’ the man continues.
‘He was slapping her?’ the sheriff asks.
‘Yes. And then we stopped. They ran down an up the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off,’ the man says as the audio ends.
After pulling the couple over, the officer then gets out the vehicle and approaches the couple’s white camper van. The officer asks Petito to step out of the vehicle and takes her down the road, separating the couple to ask her what happened.
In the video, an emotional Petito tells officers with tears streaming down her face that she ‘was trying to get him [Laundrie] to stop telling [her] to calm down’ and admitting the couple had ‘been fighting all morning.’
Petito was reported missing on September 11 after her 23-year-old fiancé, Laundrie, came back to his parents’ home in Florida.
he pair were on a cross-country road trip in Petito’s white van and they were documenting their travels on social media platforms including Instagram and YouTube before authorities found Petito’s body in Grand Teton Park on September 19
Petito tells them she suffers from OCD and anxiety, with both her and Laundrie saying she was stressed because of the YouTube blog they were working on to document their doomed cross-country trip.
The officer tells Petito she is ‘not in any trouble’ and escorts her to the back of the cop car so she can ‘take a breath’ and have ‘a few minutes.’
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face and arm which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’.
He later said she was angry with him because of his dirty feet. When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and makes a grabbing motion on her chin. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation.
The cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’ and say they are separating the couple for the night.
‘I am separating you two tonight, okay?’ the officer is heard telling Petito. The 22-year-old nods through tears in response and mouths ‘okay.’
‘I want you guys both to be tonight, away from each other,’ the officer says. ‘Relax, breathe, because there’s no need to be crying now,’ he tells Petito.
Meanwhile family and friends mourned Gabby Petito at a funeral service on Sunday in Holbrook, Suffolk County
Friends embraced outside of Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home a week after Petito’s remains were found at a camp site near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Police are continuing the massive manhunt for her fiancé Brian Laundrie, who was the last person seen with her, and FBI agents paid another visits to his parents’ home on Sunday
Petito nods and wipes tears from her eyes.
‘I understand that this can feel like a nightmare,’ the officer says. ‘But you have come out as the golden flower on top.’
Meanwhile mourners including Petito’s family, friends and hundreds of other people who’d never met her but were personally moved by her story, packed a funeral home in Long Island to grieve the 22-year-old woman whose life of adventure was tragically cut short.
Her service came as, police are continuing the massive manhunt for Laundrie, who was the last person seen with her, and rewards totaling $30,000 are being offered for information leading to his whereabouts.
And as loved ones reminisced on her life on Long Island, law enforcement continued to search for answers about her death in North Port, Florida, as FBI agents paid Laundrie’s parents another visit on Sunday.
‘The entire planet knows this woman’s name,’ said her father Joe Petito, standing before a golden urn at the Moloney Holbrook Funeral Home, in a standing-room only chapel adorned with bouquets of flowers and photo montages of his daughter growing up in Blue Point, L.I., including a picture of Gabby as a little girl with her small hand print on a piece of paper.
Petito’s body was found last week in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, and her death has been ruled a homicide. Her fiancé Brian Laundrie, 23, is the prime suspect but remains at large after he returned from their cross country road trip without her on Sept. 1.