Gabby Petito case: 911 call of alleged abuse released, search continues for Brian Laundrie

Gabby Petito Case

TAMPA, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Florida police say the search for Brian Laundrie did not turn up anything of note Tuesday. He’s wanted for questioning in the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, his girlfriend, whose body was discovered in a Wyoming national park weeks after the couple set out on a cross-country trek.

Police confirmed they will continue the search Wednesday.

“We will once again continue our search efforts in the Carlton Reserve, where Brian reportedly visited a week ago today to go hiking,” Joshua Taylor of the North Port police said in part. “Please be aware, the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times. It is currently waist-deep in water in many areas. This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator- and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails.”

Laundrie was last seen Tuesday entering the 24,000-ace Carlton Reserve but was not reported missing until Friday. Investigators had focused intently on the area after Laundrie’s parents told police he may have gone there. North Police police are using drones and helicopters to survey the area.

Authorities said Monday they had no plans to conduct a “major search” of the reserve, saying they believed they had “exhausted all avenues in the search.” Officers and FBI agents Monday also executed a court-authorized search warrant at Laundrie’s residence, where he lived with his parents and Petito. No further details were provided. Images from the scene show police tape surrounding the home and agents entering with evidence boxes.

Utah authorities also released a 911 call reporting an alleged domestic violence incident between two people believed to be Laundrie and Petito.

You can listen to the 911 call below. This content may be disturbing for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

The man told the Grand County Sheriff’s Office that he saw a man slap a woman while walking through the town and proceeded to hit her before the two got in their van and drove off.

“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” he said. “They ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and they drove off.”

Video released by the Moab police showed that an officer pulled the couple’s van over on the same day after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near Arches National Park. Hourlong body camera footage from the investigation shows officers responding to the 911 call with Petito crying “uncontrollably,” saying the pair had been having “little arguments” that day. Authorities said Laundrie told officers the couple had been traveling for four to five months, which “created emotional strain between them and increased the number of arguments.”

This combo of photos provided by FBI Denver via @FBIDenver shows missing person Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with her boyfriend. Authorities say a body discovered Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Wyoming, is believed to be Petito. (Courtesy of FBI Denver via AP)

Petito vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie in a converted camper van.

The trip was well-documented on social media until it abruptly ceased allegedly somewhere in Wyoming. The couple documented most of their trip, which started in July, on a YouTube Vlog called “VAN LIFE”.  The last posts to both their Instagram accounts were from Grand Teton National Park.

The FBI said the body of Petito was found Sunday by law enforcement agents who spent the weekend searching campsites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park. An autopsy will be conducted on Tuesday to confirm if the remains are Petito.

“I want to personally thank the press and news media for giving the Petito and Schmidt family time to grieve,” the Petito family lawyer said Tuesday. “We will be making a statement when Gabby is home. I will contact you to arrange a time and location.”

Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on New York’s Long Island. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota. The Laundrie family attorney was set to hold a press conference Tuesday in New York but canceled it due to a request from the FBI.

This story is developing.

NewsNation affiliates WFLA, KTXL and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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