Newly released audio reveals that authorities were initially told Brian Laundrie hit Gabby Petito, later describing the incident more as a 'mental/emotional health 'break' than a domestic assault'

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Newly released audio reveals that authorities were initially told Brian Laundrie hit Gabby Petito, later describing the incident more as a 'mental/emotional health 'break' than a domestic assault'
A composite image showing Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, from bodycam footage from August 12, 2021 after police in Moab, Utah, stopped their van. Moab Police Department/Insider
  • Aug. 12 police dispatcher audio revealed police were initially told Brian Laundrie hit Gabby Petito.
  • In a police report, an officer wrote that it "wasn't clear" what happened during the fight.
  • The officer later described the incident "more accurately as a mental/emotional health 'break'."

Authorities initially reported that Brian Laundrie hit Gabby Petito, according to newly released audio obtained Monday by the Utah news station KSTU.

KSTU reported that a police dispatcher told officers that a 911 caller said a "male hit a female," describing a fight between Petito and Laundrie on August 12 - weeks before the 22-year-old travel vlogger was reported missing and her fiancé returned to their home in Florida alone on September 1.

On September 19, a body that authorities said was "consistent with the description" of Petito was found near the Spread Creek camping site near Grand Teton National Park. The FBI and the Petito family's lawyer later confirmed that the remains belonged to Petito, and her death was ruled a homicide on Tuesday.

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"The female who got hit, they both - the male and the female - both got into the van and headed north," the dispatcher said in the audio.

In a police report of the incident after officers responded to the scene, officer Eric Pratt wrote that it "wasn't clear" what happened during the altercation.

"It appeared that a male and female had left the scene traveling north on Main in a white Ford Transit van with a black ladder on the rear after the male and female had engaged in some sort of altercation," Pratt wrote.

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"It wasn't clear, but I believe it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female," Pratt continued but later added that "no one reported that the male struck the female, 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."

After interviewing Petito, Laundrie, and the bystander who called in the incident, Pratt described it "more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health 'break' than a domestic assault." The police report stated that Petito struck Laundrie after she thought he was going to get in the van and drive away after their argument.

"After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis," officer Daniel Scott Robbins, who also responded to the incident, wrote in the police report.

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Laundrie has been the subject of a manhunt since September 14 after his parents told the FBI he went on a hike in Florida's Carlton Reserve and didn't return. Police issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie related to his activities after Petito's death, which they allege included unauthorized use of a Capital One credit or debit card for purchases of more than $1,000 between August 30 and September 1.

Authorities did not specify whom the card belonged to, but documents obtained by Insider from the Suffolk County, New York, Police Department showed that Petito banked with Capital One.

The indictment said Laundrie used the debit card sometime between August 30 to September 1, and the FBI said the warrant related to Laundrie's activities after Petito's death, which suggests Petito died before August 30.

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