A National Park Service ranger is speaking out following the death of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old blogger found dead earlier this month in Wyoming.
Melissa Hulls told Deseret News that she can still hear Gabby’s voice. She was one of the rangers that assisted when 23-year-old Brian Laundrie was pulled over in Moab, Utah, on August 12, following calls about a domestic issue.
“She wasn’t just a face on the milk carton, she was real to me,” Hulls told Deseret News.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Petito was emotional as a Moab officer pulled over the converted van she was traveling in with Laundrie. A witness had previously contacted police about the suspected domestic incident that day, which was not caught on video, but reportedly involved a physical altercation.
As the footage shows, an officer asked Petito to step out of the vehicle and discuss what had caused the upset. In the conversation, Petito explained that she felt like she had “OCD” and thought it was affecting her mood.
“Sometimes I get really frustrated,” Gabby said.
Hull said she spoke candidly with Gabby after police separated her from Laundrie and asked her to explain what happened.
“I was probably more candid with her than I should’ve been,” Hull said. “I was imploring with her to reevaluate the relationship, asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying this was an opportunity for her to find another path, to make a change in her life.”
Police eventually separated Laundrie and Gabby for 24 hours, but Hull said Gabby seemed anxious and scared to be separated from Laundrie.
“She had a lot of anxiety about being away from him, I honestly thought if anything was going to change it would be after they got home to Florida.”
A little over a month after the incident, authorities found Gabby’s deceased body in a remote area at the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Although a positive identification is pending, police said the description of the body matched Gabby. Her parents have been notified.
“I honestly haven’t looked at my body camera footage for that night. It’s hard to think about now because I feel like I could’ve said more to help her,” Hull said.
“It’s hard not to second-guess myself, and wish I said more, or wish I had found the right words to make her believe that she deserved more.”
Watch the full video below.
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[Featured Photo: Instagram]