MOAB, Utah — A witness who observed the argument between Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, in Moab last month told police that "something seemed off" during the dispute.
In a written statement to Moab police, the witness, simply listed as Chris, said he saw Petito and Laundrie in "some sort of dispute" on Aug. 12 near the Moonflower Community Cooperative.
Chris wrote that it appeared the couple were fighting over a phone, and that he believed Laundrie had taken Petito's phone during the incident. He added that the two were talking "aggressively."
Later, Chris says it looked like Laundrie did not want to allow Petito back into their shared white van. While describing Petito's efforts to get into the vehicle, he claims she "was punching him (Laundrie) in the arm" before climbing over the driver's seat and into the passenger's seat.
"Why do you have to be so mean?," Chris said he heard Petito say to Laundrie after getting back into the van.
The witness said he wasn't sure how serious the dispute was, and that it was "hard to tell if they were sort of play fighting, but from my point of view, something definitely didn't seem right."
Chris added that it seemed as if Laundrie was trying to leave Petito and take her phone with him.
At the end of the witness statement, Chris acknowledges that another person had called in the incident. In another 911 call, a witness told police that Petito was slapping Laundrie during the altercation.
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, in a statement, commended the bystander for reporting the incident between Petito and Laundrie to law enforcement in Grand County.
"Domestic Violence Coalition sends condolences and comfort to Gabby Petito’s family, loved ones, and friends. Domestic and intimate partner violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any point in a relationship. This tragic case is a stark reminder that domestic violence impacts everyone."
The coroner's office in Teton County in Wyoming confirmed on Tuesday that remains found on Sunday are Gabby Petito and the initial cause of death was determined to be homicide.
Free and confidential support for individuals experiencing domestic or intimate partner abuse or violence is available, 24/7:
Utah Domestic Violence resources
LINKLine: 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text START to 88788
Additionally, if/when you suspect, witness, or experience domestic or intimate partner violence, call 911.
Any specific tips about the Petito case should be given directly to the FBI by calling: 1-800-CALL-FBI.