Gabby Petito Says Brian Laundrie Hit Her and Grabbed Her Face in Newly-Released Body Cam Footage

In the 52-minute video, a sobbing Petito says that her fiancé had hit her, but also claimed that she hit him first

Authorities have released new body cam footage from the Aug. 12 domestic dispute between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in Utah — and the footage shows Petito saying that her fiancé had hit her and grabbed her face.

PEOPLE has reviewed the 52-minute video taken by a body camera on Moab Police officer Eric Pratt. During the video, Pratt tells Petito that two people claimed to have seen Laundrie hit her, and asks if this is true.

"I, I guess, yeah, but I hit him first," Petito responds, according to the footage.

Officer Pratt then asks for clarification. "You slapped him first? And just on his face?"

"Well, he kept telling me to shut up," Petito responds, "but I hit him first. ...Well, he like grabbed my face, like, I guess ... He didn't like, hit me in the face. He didn't, like, punch me in the face or anything...He, like, grabbed me with his nail, and I guess that's why it looks ... definitely I was cut right here [points to cheek] because I can feel it. When I touch it, it burns."

In the body camera footage, Petito looks for a way to minimize the incident.

Gabby Petito case: Full bodycam video from second Utah officer
Gabby Petito, as seen on body cam footage from Aug. 12, 2021. Moab City Police Department
Gabby Petito case: Full bodycam video from second Utah officer
Another image from a Moab City Police body cam, showing Gabby Petito on Aug. 12, 2021. Moab City Police Department

"Can't we just have, like, a driving ticket?" she asks, sobbing. She offers to pay any ticket instead of bringing charges against either her or Laundrie.

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito. Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

In the police report of the traffic stop, officer Pratt initially wrote that he believed "it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female," but later seemingly contradicted the earlier statement and wrote that "no one reported that the male struck the female."

Police classified the incident as "disorderly conduct" rather than domestic violence, and determined Petito was the aggressor.

But information that came to light after the release of the initial body cam footage belies this assessment.

An eyewitness who called 911 to report the incident told the dispatcher Laundrie had been slapping Petito.

Another eyewitness, who provided a written statement, told police he saw the couple in the middle of "some sort of dispute" and that "something definitely didn't seem right."

That witness also said it appeared Laundrie was possibly trying to lock Petito out of the van and take her phone.

Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie. Find Gabby/Facebook

The city of Moab said in a statement to CNN last week that it has launched an investigation into the incident.

"We understand that individuals can view the same situation in very different ways, and we recognize how the death of Ms. Petito more than two weeks later in Wyoming might lead to speculation, in hindsight, about actions taken during the incident in Moab," the city wrote. "The purpose of the City's formal investigation is to gather the underlying facts and evidence necessary to make a thorough, informed evaluation of such actions."

Two weeks after the incident, Petito disappeared. Her body was found weeks later. Authorities have not released a cause of death, but named Laundrie as a person of interest.

Laundrie is now wanted by the FBI on an active arrest warrant issued last week on allegations of unauthorized use of a debit card, and has been the subject of a massive manhunt.

Cornell University forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ziv Cohen reviewed the initial body cam footage for PEOPLE. While he has never met or treated Petito or Laundrie, he was able to use his experience to observe the couple's body language and demeanor — and make a speculative assessment on their relationship.

Cohen said the footage raises "alarm bells about a potential domestic abuse situation."

He added that Petito "proceeds to just blame herself for the incident," and that she appears "quite scared" and not fully "able to explain how the incident began. That seems to fit the profile of a domestic abuse situation, where you have the victim self-blaming and trying to protect the abuser."

If you have information on this case, call 1-­800-­CALL-­FBI (225­-5324).

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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