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Dispatch audio indicates Moab officers were told Laundrie hit Petito before traffic stop

Posted at 6:28 PM, Sep 26, 2021

MOAB, Utah — According to newly released audio recordings, the officers who responded to a domestic violence-related incident involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie last month in Moab were told that Laundrie reportedly hit Petito.

While audio of the initial 9-1-1 call from a third party and bodycam footage of the subsequent traffic stop with Petito and Laundrie were previously made public, it was not clear what details Moab Police officers knew before speaking with the couple on Aug. 12.

FOX 13 has now obtained recordings of the dispatch radio traffic, in which a dispatcher tells officers some details of the initial witness's report.

"RP [reporting party] states a male hit a female. Domestic. He got into a white Ford Transit van. Has a black ladder on the back. Florida plate," the dispatcher said before giving the license plate number. "The female who got hit, they both — the male and the female — both got into the van and headed north.”

In the police report of the traffic stop some minutes later, a responding officer initially wrote that he believed "it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female," but later wrote that "no one reported that the male struck the female."

The officer also described the incident "more accurately as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault," and that "no significant injuries" were reported.

Laundrie stayed in a hotel that night, while Petito stayed with the van.

READ: Moab to investigate how police handled incident involving Petito, Laundrie

Petito was last seen about two weeks later when the couple traveled north to Salt Lake City and Ogden, then to the Teton region of Wyoming.

On Sunday, Sept. 19, Petito's body was found near a campground in the Bridger-Teton National Forest just outside Grand Teton National Park.

Laundrie is still missing as of this report, with his last known location believed to be a nature reserve near his parents' home in North Port, Florida.

Court documents out of Wyoming say once Laundrie is taken into custody, he should be held in jail without the possibility of bail because he is a potential flight risk.

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Free and confidential support for individuals experiencing domestic or intimate partner abuse or violence is available, 24/7:

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition:
    • Hotline: 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
    • Online help: udvc.org
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.