‘Why do you have to be so mean’: Witness report offers new details of Petito, Laundrie incident in Utah

Gabby Petito

Credit: Moab City Police Department

MOAB, Utah (ABC4) – Body camera footage, a police report, and 911 audio detailing an August incident in Utah between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie have already been released. A new witness report about the incident has also been made available.

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 in August. 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.”

This witness says he arrived at the Moonflower Co-op in Moab and saw Petito and Laundrie, who appeared “to have some sort of dispute.” He says they were “talking aggressively at each other and something seemed off.” He describes seeing the couple apparently fighting over a phone.

Laundrie, at one point, gets into the white van the couple were known to be in and Petito “followed him.” The man says Petito “was punching [Laundrie] in the arm and/or face and trying to get into the van.” He says Petito eventually climbed into the vehicle over Laundrie.

In the statement, the man says he heard Petito say, “‘Why do you have to be so mean.'” He continues, explaining he was unsure how serious the incident 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,” the witness recounts. “It was as if the guy was trying to leave her, and maybe take her phone?”

The man says he saw someone else calling police about the incident and opted instead to leave his contact information with law enforcement.

Within the previously released body camera footage and police report, Moab Police determined the incident was a mental or emotional health break rather than a domestic incident. They further described Petito as the primary aggressor and decided to separate the couple for the night. Moab Police transported Laundrie to a nearby hotel and let Petito remain in the van.

Now, over a month later, investigators have confirmed a body found in Wyoming is that of Petito, who has not been heard from since late August. The FBI and Florida law enforcement are continuing to search for Laundrie, a person of interest in the Petito case. For continuing coverage of this investigation, click here.

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