A woman who vanished during a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend was interviewed by police less than two weeks before her family last heard from her.
ABC 4 obtained a police report filed on August 12 in Moab, Utah, detailing an incident involving 22-year-old Gabrielle Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. Petito’s family reported her missing this weekend after she fell out of contact in late August, when she and Laundrie are believed to have been in Wyoming. Laundrie returned to his Florida home on September 1 in the converted camper he and Petito had been traveling in, but without his girlfriend. Police have since named Laundrie a person of interest in the investigation, but he has not been arrested.
According to the police report, a witness contacted police after observing “some sort of altercation” between Petito and Laundrie on August 12. Police located the couple’s vehicle and pulled them over, after the vehicle reportedly swerved and hit a curb. The van had been traveling at 45 MPH in a 15 MPH zone.
After stopping the vehicle, an officer spoke to Petito outside the van. The young woman was reportedly in a highly emotional state and was crying uncontrollably. She told police that she and Laundrie had been having frequent arguments and that she suffered from anxiety. She also reportedly admitted to hitting Laundrie on the arm in order to get his attention, as the police cruiser was attempting to pull them over.
According to the New York Post, which also obtained a copy of the report, Petito told police she was worried Laundrie was going to drive off and leave her behind.
“Brian said Gabrielle, thinking he was going to leave her in Moab without a ride, went to slap him,” the report stated. “As Gabrielle started to swing, Brian pushed her away to avoided the slap. As a result Gabrielle, off-balance, but still caught Brian’s face with some fingers causing minor visible scratches.”
There is no indication that police discovered any evidence that Laundrie assaulted Petito.
“Both the male and the female reported they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” the police report stated.
No criminal charges were filed, though the couple agreed to separate for the night.
“After evaluation the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis,” an officer wrote in the incident report.
“I then determined the most appropriate course of action would be to help separate the parties for the night so they could reset their mental states without interference from one another, and although they did express a desire to remain together, they both ultimately agreed.”
Read the full police report below:
Law enforcement agencies from multiple states are assisting in the missing persons investigation.
Anyone with information about Petito’s whereabouts is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
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