Gabby Petito’s last days: what we know
“I said yes!” Petito had written in an Instagram caption. “Every day is such a dream with you.”
But when the camera went off, a different reality unfolded. The trip seemed to strain the relationship and the two were seen arguing by passers-by – at such an intense time, at least one person called authorities to report it.
Petito called his mother regularly, and these conversations seemed to reveal that there was “more and more tension” in Petito’s relationship, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant for an external hard drive found in the couple’s van.
“She was coming off the gate, you know, while she was out there doing her van stuff, exploring these different areas,” Jim Schmidt, Petito’s stepfather had said when she disappeared. “It was not uncommon for her to go away for a few days at a time, but she would always go back to a place where she could connect to a Wi-Fi connection, upload to her Instagram, make phone calls, FaceTime to get back to the House.”
New slowly appearing details help paint a picture of what the days before Petito’s death may have been like.
The two were arrested by the police
On August 12, almost three weeks before Laundrie returned to Florida at the house he shared with Petito and his parents, someone walked past a couple with a white van with a Florida license plate and said called 911 to report that he had seen “the gentleman was slapping the girl.”
“Then we pulled over,” the appellant told dispatchers, according to an audio recording of that day’s 911 provided by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. “They ran down the sidewalk. He started hitting her, jumped in the car and they drove off.”
A Moab, Utah, police officer who spotted the pickup truck later wrote in a police report that he saw Petito sitting in the passenger seat and “crying uncontrollably.”
In body camera footage from the Moab Police Department obtained by CNN, an officer is heard asking the young woman, who was visibly shaken, to get out of the van and sit inside her vehicle in the hope to help him calm down. Petito said the two had a fight that morning and experienced “personal issues”.
“I have OCD and sometimes I get really frustrated,” Petito said, later adding, “He didn’t let me get in the car before.”
When the officer asked why, the young woman replied, “He told me I had to calm down, but I am perfectly calm.
In his police report, Officer Eric Pratt said Petito slapped Laundrie “who grabbed her face and pushed her away as she pressed against him and the van.”
“At no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily or composing a sentence without needing to wipe her tears, wipe her nose or rub her knees with her hands,” wrote Officer Daniel Scott Robbins in the report.
Robbins said Petito “went into a manic state” when Laundrie attempted to “part ways with her so they could both calm their emotions.” He reported seeing “visible minor scratches” on Laundrie’s face.
Robbins wrote that he did not believe that “the situation has escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.” He suggested the two separated for the night, which Petito and Laundrie agreed to.
“I was able to contact Safe Haven and secure a hotel room for Brian for the night,” Robbins wrote. “I asked Brian and Gabrielle to use this time apart to relax their emotions… also asked them to avoid contacting each other until the next morning if possible.”
No charges have been laid.
Petito kept the van while Robbins drove Laundrie to the hotel, the officer wrote, adding that they both had their cell phones with them in case of an emergency.
A witness at the scene wrote in an affidavit that the two “were talking aggressively to each other and something seemed to be wrong.”
Chris, the witness – whose last name was redacted in the document provided to CNN by the Moab police – said it appeared the two were arguing over control of Petito’s phone, and said he saw the young woman at one point “punching (Laundrie) in the arm and / or face and trying to get into the van.”
“Why do you have to be so mean,” Chris wrote upon hearing Petito say to Laundrie, though Chris added that he couldn’t be sure the comment was taken seriously.
“I begged with her to reassess the relationship, asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying it was an opportunity for her to find another path, to change her life,” Hulls told the Deseret. New.
Petito FaceTimed with his mother
Petito called and texted his mother regularly throughout the trip, according to the search warrant which described an apparent growing tension between Petito and Laundrie.
On August 24, Petito faced his mother and told her she was leaving Utah and heading for the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming, Petito family attorney Richard Stafford said.
A day later, the mother and daughter texted again, during which her family believed Petito was in the Tetons, Stafford previously said.
‘Commotion’ inside a restaurant
Nina Angelo, who was at the restaurant with her boyfriend, said Petito was in tears and Laundrie was visibly angry, entering and leaving the restaurant several times and showing anger towards the staff around the hostess booth. A restaurant manager told CNN that she saw “an incident” at the restaurant on August 27, but declined to give her name or describe what happened and said the restaurant had no surveillance video of the incident.
That same day, Petito’s mother received what she described as a “strange text” from her daughter, according to the search warrant, and was concerned something was wrong.
“Can you help Stan, I keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” the message read, according to the search warrant. Stan was a reference to Petito’s grandfather, whom his mother said Petito never referred to in this way, according to the warrant.
Also on August 27, a GoPro video of two vloggers captured Petito’s van in the scattered camping area of Spread Creek, where Petito’s body was later found, between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. local time.
Vloggers Kyle and Jenn Bethune said that upon seeing the Florida pickup truck’s license plates they considered stopping to say hello as they were also from Florida, but Jenn Bethune said no one seemed to be around the vehicle.
“We figured maybe they were hiking or just relaxing inside,” Kyle Bethune added. “There (was) no open door.”
According to the timeline previously provided by Stafford, Petito’s last text message arrived on August 30, but her family doubted she was the one who wrote the message.
“No service in Yosemite,” the post said, according to Stafford.
Where Petito was found
On September 19, officials announced the discovery of remains in the scattered Spread Creek camping area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. A coroner later confirmed Petito’s identity.
The restaurant where authorities said Petito was last seen is about 25 miles from Spread Creek.
A federal arrest warrant issued last week against Laundrie for using unauthorized access devices “in the District of Wyoming and elsewhere” alleges that between August 30 and September 1, Laundrie is suspected of having used a debit card and PIN for accounts that did not belong to him for charges over $ 1,000.
A lawyer for Laundrie’s family said Thursday the warrant was linked “to activities that took place after Gabby Petito’s death and not linked to her actual disappearance.”
“The FBI is focused on locating Brian and when that happens the details of the charges covered by the indictment will be dealt with in the appropriate forum,” said attorney Steve Bertolino.
CNN’s Andy Rose, Rebekah Riess, Randi Kaye, Kari Pricher and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.