Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie fought “aggressively” over her cellphone during an argument in Utah last month, a new witness has alleged.
According to a witness identified as Chris, 22-year-old Ms Petito was said to have asked Mr Laundrie why he had to “be so mean” to her after a fight outside of a store in Moab, Utah, on 12 August.
As the New York Post reported on Tuesday night, Chris told investigators that the pair were fighting “aggressively” in front of the store, and that he witnessed 23-year-old Mr Laundrie take Ms Petio’s phone, which police have so far been unable to find.
The incident on 12 August led to a separate 911 call and Moab police pulling over Ms Petito, and Mr Laundrie, who went missing last week and has been named a person of interest in the “homicide” death of his fiancée, whose body was found in Wyoming on Sunday.
The fight occurred almost a month into a road trip that would finish in Wyoming, and with Mr Laundrie’s return to North Port, Florida, without the aspiring blogger.
Moab police were reportedly told that “something seemed off” between Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie, who appeared to take her phone, and that the argument appeared to be about the phone.
She was thought to have feared that he would drive off without her, and in body camera footage from Moab police, Mr Laundrie said he had the keys to their van during the argument.
He added that Ms Petito had a phone and said “I didn’t have my phone, I don’t have a phone”. The pair then allegedly walked off in separate directions.
“They were talking aggressively at each other and something seemed off,” the witness, Chris, reportedly told police. “I think the male took the females (sic) phone. It appeared that he didn’t want her in the white van.”
The argument, which occurred outside the Moonflower Community Cooperative, follows reports that Ms Petito’s mother was last messaged by her daughter on 27 August – but refused to believe that it was Ms Petito on the end end.
The new witness also appeared to differ to that of a 911 caller who said that Ms Petito had hit Mr Laundrie outside the store. After they were pulled over by police, the couple spent the night alone before continuing their road trip across the West.
FBI investigators said on Tuesday that Ms Petito had died by a “homicide” after her body was found in Wyoming. The search for Mr Laundrie, meanwhile, will resume on Wednesday in Florida.