New dispatch audio shows that Utah police were told Brian Laundrie hit Gabby Petito before they pulled their van over on August 12, and may have violated protocol when they did not arrest him.
The audio appears to contradict earlier reports that the responding officers in Moab City, Utah were unaware of a call from a witness who claimed to have seen Laundrie slapping Petito in their white Ford transit van before driving off.
‘RP (reporting party) states seeing a male hit a female, domestic,’ the dispatcher told police at around 4.38pm local time, according to the audio, first obtained by Fox 13. ‘He got into a white Ford Transit van, has a black ladder on the back, Florida plate.
An officer asks for further information regarding the witness, and is again told that Petito had allegedly been hit.
‘Phone number is [redacted], name’s [redacted],’ the dispatcher responds at 4:42 p.m. ‘I’m not sure [inaudible], but the female who got hit, they both, the male and the female, both got into the van and headed north.’
The new information comes as the Moab Police Department announced an independent probe on Thursday into the officers’ handing of the alleged domestic dispute about a month before Petito was found dead.
Neither police nor city officials have said whether the responding officers were aware they were dealing with a potential domestic violence incident when they pulled the couple over.
But they treated Petito as the primary aggressor in bodycam footage of the August 12 incident, after Laundrie was found with wounds on his face.
Utah law requires cops to make an arrest or issue a citation if they believe an incident of domestic violence has taken place.
Neither Petito nor Laundrie were arrested. They were instead separated for the night in an attempt to calm the situation down, before being allowed to continue on their way.
Body camera footage from the responding officers show them determining Petito was the ‘primary aggressor in the dispute after interviewing both of them, despite the call from the witness, after she admits to them that she hit Laundrie.
They pulled them over after reporting that the driver of a vehicle ahead was showing ‘obscure driving’, driving 45mph in a 15mph road, and is ‘possibly intoxicated.’