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911 caller: Brian Laundrie 'hit, slapped' Gabby Petito in Utah

The FBI is now searching for Brian Laundrie (right), who is the person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito. (North Port Police){p}{/p}
The FBI is now searching for Brian Laundrie (right), who is the person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito. (North Port Police)

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According to a 911 call to Grand County Sheriff's Office, Brian Laundrie was hitting Gabby Petito, his fiancée, prior to them being pulled over in Moab.

“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller stated. “They ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, and they drove off."

The caller’s description of Laundrie “slapping” Petito on Aug. 12 tells a different story of the incident than was provided by police body camera footage from that day.

In the footage, Laundrie told officials she caused the visible scratches on his face and Petito admitted she "punched his arm" as they were getting pulled over at Arches National Park.

Officials later stated they had considered charging Petito with a domestic violence crime.

During the stop, there was never a detailed mention of Laundrie hitting Petito.

Ultimately, officers decided they were dealing with a mental health crisis and not a domestic assault. No one was charged.

The pair told police they had been arguing “more than usual,” and their relationship had been strained recently after “traveling together for the last 4 or 5 months.”

Officers helped to arrange lodging for Laundrie while Petito retained possession of the van. They told the two to stay separated for the night.

Petito was reported missing later in August. A body that was "consistent" with her description was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, in the area she was last known to be.

Laundrie, who police named a person of interest in the case, did not talk to investigators and has not been located since his whereabouts became unknown on Sept. 17.

“People can look guilty as hell, and I myself have used that term," said Jim Winder, former Moab police chief. "In this case, when I have gone back and reviewed that body cam footage and the totality of the situation and circumstance, I would caution people.”

Winder said more facts in the case need to emerge, including those from Gabby's autopsy.

He said the condition of the remains they found is critical, as it will determine if the coroner can find a clear cause and manner of death.

“Without that, frankly this thing is going to be very dynamic,” Winder said.

Moab Police Chief Bret Edge said he had no comment on the 911 call.

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