A social media influencer and her fiancé set out on a cross-country trip most would envy. For months, the couple recorded themselves laughing and trekking through national parks in a van.
Behind the camera, their lives may have been more complex.
Body camera footage from Moab police in Utah during a traffic stop shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito visibly shaken and crying following a fight two weeks before she disappeared.
Brian Laundrie, 23, returned to North Port Florida without his fiancé, who was last seen in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Aug. 24. No one has heard from her since.
Laundrie, a person of interest in her disappearance, has yet to answer any questions from law enforcement. North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said authorities have talked with one of Laundrie’s family members, although the information was not very helpful.
Authorities have not announced public updates to the case Friday. Law enforcement officials have received hundreds of tips since the disappearance went viral but most have been false leads.
Officers in Utah pulled over their van on Aug. 12 after it was observed speeding and hit a curb. Inside was a hyper Laundrie and hysterical Petito. Petito was crying uncontrollably as an officer approached the van.
“At no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands,” officer Daniel Robbins wrote.
She told the officer they had been fighting all morning and that she suffers from anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder that impacts her behavior.
“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,” Petito said sniffling in the police video footage.
Laundrie said in the video that they began arguing when he climbed into the van with dirty feet and moved something.
Laundry also told officers that he suffers from anxiety. At one point, the officer asked if he was always so hyper. Laundrie added that neither he nor Petito takes any medications for mental health.
Casey Collier, vice president of behavioral health at First Step in Sarasota, said with the couple’s heightened emotions and mental states, anything could have set them into a mental crisis.
“As I watched it, I was thinking about anyone, even without mental health obstacles, in that kind of scenario for five months isolated in a small space. That’s going to create stress for anyone,” Collier said. “And then you add to that the mental health problems they both reported… That’s it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Officers noted that Laundrie had scratches on his face and arms. He insisted he was OK and did not want to press charges.
The officer concluded that he does “not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.”
Authorities then suggested the couple should separate for the night to “reset their mental states.” Laundry was taken to a hotel. Petito took the camper.
Petito is described as a white female, approximately five feet, 5 inches tall, and 110 pounds. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger de ella and one on her forearm that reads “Let it be.”
The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). They urge people with credible tips to reach out.