MOAB, Utah (ABC4) – Moab Police knew Brian Laundrie had been seen hitting Gabby Petito during an August incident in Grand County, Utah, newly obtained dispatch audio indicates. An investigation is now underway to review how officers handled the situation, which occurred just weeks before Petito’s disappearance.
On August 12, Moab Police were contacted about a possible domestic dispute in Moab between two individuals, later identified as Petito and Laundrie. The couple had been on a road trip for a number of weeks by this time. On September 11, Petito’s family in New York reported her missing. Eight days later, authorities found her body in Wyoming.
Earlier this month, Moab Police shared the audio of the initial call made to 911 in which a man tells dispatchers he saw Laundrie slapping Petito outside a grocery store. The man was not the only one to see the incident take place. According to a statement form filed with the Moab Police Department obtained by ABC4 affiliate NewsNation, another individual saw what happened and believed it “didn’t seem right.” For more on that witness’s report, click here.
On Monday, ABC News obtained audio of the radio traffic between dispatchers and police from the August 12 incident.
In this audio clip, the dispatcher can be heard telling officers a witness had seen Laundrie hitting Petito.
In this next clip, an officer can be heard asking the dispatcher for the contact information for the witness as well as where Laundrie and Petito were located. The dispatcher says both Laundrie and Petito – “who got hit” – had gotten in their van and left the area.
Another pair of clips provides audio from a second dispatcher appearing to notify rangers at Arches National Park that Laundrie and Petito may be heading toward the park. She can be heard saying Laundrie is a “possible intoxicated driver” and that the van is “in connection with domestic violence.” In the second clip, an officer is heard telling dispatch the driver of the van, later identified as Laundrie, may be intoxicated.
Moab Police detailed in their report of the incident that the van was seen hitting a curb and swerving on the roadway before being stopped.
After police are able to catch up to Laundrie and Petito, an officer can be heard telling dispatch he has Petito separated from Laundrie. In the body camera footage released in early September, Petito is seen sitting in the back of a Moab Police vehicle while officers investigate what happened.
Throughout other snippets of the dispatch audio, officers and dispatchers can be heard identifying Laundrie and Petito and reviewing if there are any warrants for the pair. They can also be heard sharing details of the van as officers searched for the vehicle.
In another clip, an officer can be heard saying he was taking Laundrie to a Moab hotel. During their investigation, Moab Police determined Petito was the primary aggressor and that rather than a domestic incident, a “mental break” had occurred. Both Petito and Laundrie had told authorities they experienced anxiety. Moab Police decided not to file charges against either, instead moving to separate the pair for the night.
WATCH: Moab Police body camera video from interaction with Petito, Laundrie
Over a month later, Petito was found dead in Wyoming. Authorities continue to search for Laundrie in Florida. The City of Moab is launching an investigation into how Moab Police handled the situation between Laundrie and Petito in August.
“We understand that individuals can view the same situation in very different ways, and we recognize how the death of Ms. Petito more than two weeks later in Wyoming might lead to speculation, in hindsight, about actions taken during the incident in Moab,” a statement from the city, released Thursday, reads. “The purpose of the City’s formal investigation is to gather the underlying facts and evidence necessary to make a thorough, informed evaluation of such actions.”
For continuing coverage of this investigation, click here.