Gabby Petito told a Utah police officer that Brian Laundrie hit her on Aug. 12, according to newly released bodycam video from a second Moab officer who arrived at the scene – but she quickly backtracked and claimed she struck first.
Meanwhile Laundrie said he “didn’t have time” to defend himself from allegations he’d struck his fiancée.
“I pushed her away,” he tells the officer. “She gets really worked up, and when she does she swings and she had her cell phone in her hand. So I was just trying to push her away.”
The Aug. 12 911 call – first reported by Fox News Digital earlier this month – illustrated what experts have flagged as a potentially abusive relationship between Petito and Laundrie. Fox News previously obtained a different officer’s bodycam video, but it appears that the police did separate interviews.
“Did he hit you though?” the officer asks.
“I guess,” she replies – although she still appeared to downplay the incident to the second officer and try and assume blame herself.
“I guess, yea,” Petito continued, with tears in her eyes. “But I hit him first.”
“Where did he hit you?” the officer replied. “Don’t worry, just be honest.”
She then backtracked and said he grabbed her “with his nail” and claimed to have been the aggressor herself.
“He didn’t like hit me in the face,” she said. “He didn’t like punch me in the face or anything.”
“Did he slap your face, or what?” the officer asked.
“Well he like, grabbed me with his nail, and I guess that’s why it looks, I definitely have a cut right here,” she said, rubbing her cheek. “I can feel it, when I touch it it burns.”
The second video, obtained through public records requests from Fox News and FOX 13 Utah, reveals more details about the encounter just weeks before Petito was last seen alive in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“He got really frustrated with me, and he locked me out of the car and told me to go take a breather, but I didn’t want to take a breather,” Petito says in the new video. “And I wanted to get going. We’re out of water.”
The officer asked Petito if she’d been hit in the face and arm.
“Is there something on your cheek here?” he says. “Did you get hit on the face?”
“I’m not sure,” Petito said, telling the officer she was just trying to get into the car.
The witness had also told police Laundrie looked like he was trying to steal Petito’s phone and that she scrambled into the car, crawling over him through the driver side door after it seemed like he might drive away without her.
At another point in the video, the officer asks a witness to clarify what he saw.
“Did you ever see the male strike the female?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t say that,” the witness replied. “I think I saw maybe a push or a shove, but not a full on punch to a face or anything.”
“You did see her slapping him though it sounds like,” the officer said.
“Yes,” the witness replied.
Later in the video, an officer told Laundrie that Petito hadn’t admitted he struck her.
Laundrie’s alleged mistreatment of Petito parallels patterns of domestic abuse, numerous experts have told Fox News. And her reaction to the police presence – on the verge of tears and blaming herself the entire time – could be the signs of a victim being manipulated by her abuser.
The city of Moab announced an independent investigation into its police dpartment’s handling of the stop earlier this month. State authorities told Fox News this week that they are not involved in that probe.
Laundrie returned to Florida alone on Sept. 1 – driving her van. A few days later, he bought a new cellphone, according to his attorney, Steve Bertolino.
Then he left it behind with his wallet and vanished. The FBI is now leading a manhunt for the 23-year-old, who is wanted on debit card fraud charges and has been named a person of interest in Petito’s homicide.
Before police encountered Laundrie allegedly speeding up the entrance ramp to Arches National Park just north of town, a dispatcher told them that the reported party witnessed “a male hit a female” outside the Moonflower Cooperative – an organic grocery store just off Main Street.
When the first officer flashed his lights, Laundrie slammed into the curb, later claiming that Petito had tugged the steering wheel.
She said she was trying to get Laundrie’s attention when she saw the lights.
Two Moab police officers responded to the incident, and two U.S. Park Rangers also arrived on scene.
The Rangers’ bodycam videos have not yet been released by federal authorities.
This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.