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Police Search Brian Laundrie’s Parents’ Home, Moab 911 Call Paints Laundrie As Aggressor

North Port, FL – Federal and local law enforcement officers swarmed Brian Laundrie’s parents’ home on Monday morning, just one day after the suspected remains of his 22-year-old fiancé, Gabby Petito, were discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

Authorities have announced that the body is believed to be Petito, but they are still waiting for confirmation from the medical examiner.

An autopsy is scheduled to take place Tuesday, FOX News reported.

The couple had been touring U.S. national parks in Petito’s converted camper van since early July.

Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said she last spoke with her daughter on Aug. 25, when Petito told her she and Laundrie, 23, were heading to Grand Teton, Wyoming before making their way to Yellowstone National Park, ABC News reported.

Laundrie returned to Florida in Petito’s converted camper van without her on Sept. 1.

Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11, but Laundrie refused to speak with them or law enforcement about where he last saw her.

The North Port Police Department (NPPD) listed Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance on Sept. 15.

His parents claimed they hadn’t seen Laundrie since he left for a hike in the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve area on Sept. 14, but they didn’t report his alleged disappearance until three days later, the NPPD said in a press release.

Approximately 15 NPPD and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) units converged on Laundrie’s parents’ North Port home at about 10 a.m. on Monday, KGET reported.

Shortly before their arrival, police cordoned off the area around the home and told people in the vicinity that it was a “crime scene,” according to FOX News.

“The FBI is executing a court-authorized search warrant at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation,” the FBI said in a statement. “No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation.”

Agents were seen photographing a shed in the backyard of the property at one point, KGET reported.

The search began hours after the NPPD announced they are no longer searching for Laundrie at the swampy, alligator-infested nature reserve.

“At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there,” NPPD Public Information Officer Josh Taylor told KGET in a statement. “Law enforcement agencies continue to search for Brian Laundrie.”

The Ford Mustang convertible Laundrie allegedly used to drive himself to the Carlton Reserve was sitting in his parents’ driveway when police arrived on Monday, ABC News reported.

The family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, claimed the family went out to look for Laundrie on Sept. 15 and found his vehicle with a note from NPPD that it needed to be removed from that location.

They decided to leave the car there overnight “so he [Laundrie] could drive back,” Bertolino told ABC News.

But when Laundrie didn’t return home by the evening of Sept. 16, they went and picked the vehicle up and brought it back to their home, the attorney alleged.

They still waited until the following day to report Laundrie as missing.

Bertolino had no comment when asked about the search at the Laundrie family home on Monday, according to FOX News.

More information about the 911 call that prompted Moab police to make contact with Petito and Laundrie in Utah approximately two weeks before Petito’s disappearance was uncovered by FOX News on Monday.

According to an MPD report, a concerned witness called 911 at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 to report a “possible domestic violence” incident near Moonflower Community Cooperative, FOX News previously reported.

The witness said he saw a man and a woman arguing in the street about a phone.

According to a 911 recording reviewed by the news outlet, the caller reported having witnessed the alleged assault, FOX News reported.

“The gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller said in the recording.

“He was slapping her?” the dispatcher asked.

“Yes, and then we stopped,” the caller said. “They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.”

Moab police pulled the couple over and spoke with them about the incident.

Petito, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was “crying uncontrollably” when they first made contact with her, the officer noted in the report.

The officers spoke with Petito and Laundrie separately before determining that neither of them had any significant injuries, FOX News reported.

“The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie,” one of the officers who responded to the scene noted in his report, according to FOX News.

“The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him,” the officer wrote. “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.”

“I have really bad OCD,” Petito said in the bodycam video. “I was apologizing to him saying ‘I’m sorry I’m so mean.’”

“We’ve been fighting all morning,” she said. “He wouldn’t let me in the car before…he told me I needed to calm down.”

One of the officers noted in his report that the argument could be “more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault,” according to the news outlet.

“Both the male and the female reported they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” the report read.

The couple ended up staying in separate locations for the night to cool down, the officers noted.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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