Gabby Petito: Police release bodycam footage of missing Florida woman as search continues

·3-min read

Police have released bodycam footage of a missing Florida woman, captured before her disappearance, as they carry out a nationwide search for her.

The footage shows police officers speaking to Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie near the entrance to Arches National Park, in Utah.

The pair had been living in a converted camper van and completing a cross-country trip at the time, with much of their journey documented on social media accounts.

Investigators say their online content abruptly stopped and Ms Petito was last in contact with her family in late August, when the couple visited Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

Mr Laundrie returned to their Florida home in their white Ford Transit van on 1 September and Ms Petito was reported missing by her family 10 days later on Saturday 11 September, according to police in the Gulf Coast town of North Port.

He has since been named by police as a person of interest in the 22-year-old's disappearance but his lawyer said that "intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on" and that he has advised Mr Laundrie not to speak.

The Moab City Police Department in Utah have now released the bodycam footage, captured on 12 August.

It shows an officer talking to Mr Laundrie and an emotional Ms Petito after being pulled over.

An officer can be heard asking her: "Why are you crying?", to which she replies: "I'm sorry, we've just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues."

Mr Laundrie says: "It was a long day. We were camping yesterday."

He goes on to apologise for hitting a "bump" in the road and Ms Petito says: "I was distracting him, I'm sorry."

She told officers she slapped and scratched Mr Laundrie, saying: "I was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down."

Officers decided to separate the couple, giving Ms Petito the van and putting Mr Laundrie into a hotel room for the night.

One officer said: "I want you guys to both to be tonight away from each other, relax, breathe."

When Ms Petito continues to cry, the officer says: "There is no reason to be crying now, I understand this can feel like a nightmare, but you are coming out as the golden flower on top of it all."

No charges were filed following the incident.

In a police report released on Wednesday, a responding officer wrote Ms Petito slapped Mr Laundrie after an argument, but the two told the officer neither wanted to press charges and they loved each other, according to NBC.

The incident appeared to be more a mental and emotional "break" than a domestic incident, police said.

"No one reported that the male struck the female, both the male and the female reported they are in love and engaged and to be married and desperately didn't wish to see anyone charged with a crime," according to the report. "There were no significant injures reported and both agreed that Gabby suffers from serious anxiety."

The couple's van has since been impounded by officers and processed for clues.

The couple set out on their journey in July from New York, saying on social media accounts they intended to reach Oregon by Halloween.

An eight-minute YouTube video titled "Van Life: Beginning our Van Life Journey" features scenes from their trip.

Gabrielle Petito is described as white, 5ft5 (1.6m) and about 110 pounds (50kg), with blonde hair and blue eyes.

She has several tattoos including one on a forearm that reads, "let it be".

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