KEY POINTS

  • The 911 caller said Laundrie had tried to lock Petito out of the van
  • The couple was later pulled over by officers following reports of a domestic dispute
  • The audio now contradicts a report made by police categorizing the dispute as a "mental health crisis"

A 911 caller who phoned authorities to report a domestic dispute between Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito in Utah last month said he had seen a man hitting a woman, a new audio released Monday revealed.

The caller, whose identity was not released, called police dispatchers on Aug. 12 after he saw a man and a woman in a dispute in Moab, Utah. During the call, the witness said he saw Laundrie slapping Petito just moments before they drove off in a white van with Florida plates.

“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl. They ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off,” the caller told dispatchers, according to The New York Post.

“He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off.” 

The couple was later pulled over by Utah police, where bodycam footage showed Petito, 22, admitting to hitting Laundrie, 23, who at the time was seen with scratches on his face and neck. During the encounter with authorities, Petito did not accuse Laundrie of being violent toward her.

"We've just been fighting this morning, some personal issues," Petito told officers, according to ABC7. "Yeah, I don't know, it's just some days I have really bad OCD, and I was just cleaning and straightening up and I was apologizing to him saying that I'm so mean because sometimes I have OCD and get frustrated."

The bodycam footage also showed Laundrie telling the officer that he suggested they go on a walk to cool off following the altercation. This led the officer to categorize the incident as a “mental health crisis” instead of a domestic assault. 

The newly released audio obtained from the Grand County Sheriff's Office now contradicts the police report in which Petito was named as the aggressor, The New York Post reported.

Laundrie was named a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance after he returned from a months-long van trip across the U.S. without his fiancée. She was reported missing by her parents on Sept. 11.

Since Petito’s disappearance, Laundrie declined to comment and sought a lawyer. He also did not disclose his whereabouts. Authorities on Friday night confirmed that they do not know Laundrie's whereabouts and had searched a nature reserve near his home.

On Sunday, the FBI announced that it found remains “consistent with the description” of Petito. While officials have yet to confirm that the body found in a national park in Wyoming was Petito’s, they have extended their condolences to the young woman’s family.    

This August 12, 2021, still image from a police bodycam released by the Moab City Police Department in Utah, shows Gabrielle Petito speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie This August 12, 2021, still image from a police bodycam released by the Moab City Police Department in Utah, shows Gabrielle Petito speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie Photo: Moab City Police Department / Handout