A Florida woman shows cross-country traveling in a converted camper van with an emotional quarrel with her boyfriend before she disappears in a tourist town in Utah.
In a video released by the Moab Police Department, an officer pulled over the van and blocked it at the entrance to the arch National Park on August 12.
Inside was Brian Laundry and his girlfriend Gabriel “Gabby” Petito, who was missing from her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search by the FBI.
Police in North Harbor, Florida, where the couple lived, say the laundry was a “person of interest” in his case. He has not been charged, but he is not cooperating.
North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison publicly expressed his frustration over his lack of assistance on Wednesday, appealing to Laundry’s lawyers to arrange a conversation. “Two people went out on tour and one guy came back!” The chief’s tweet said.
The body camera video shows Petito clearly upset when an officer instigates him.
“We had a quarrel this morning. Some personal problems,” she tells him, as she suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder that affects her behavior.
“Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just a few days. I had a really bad OCD, and I was cleaning and straightening. And I was telling him that sometimes I would have OCD and get frustrated,” she said.
In the laundry video, the couple got into a minor quarrel, which started when they got into the van with dirty feet and said they did not want to pursue a charge of domestic violence against Petito.
“I’m not going to pursue anything because she’s my fianc ನಾನು and I love her. It was just a hassle. I’m sorry, it had to be very public,” says Laundry.
Eventually the Moab police decided not to file any charges and instead separated the couple overnight, checked the laundry into a motel, and left with a petito-converted sleeper van.
“He’s going to the hotel. I’m giving you the keys to the van. I’m giving him a ride to the hotel. Everything’s fine,” the officer says.
Petito, 22, and 23-year-old Laundry grew up in Long Island, New York and began their drive across the US in July. He intended to reach Oregon by Halloween, according to his social media accounts, but Petito disappeared from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming after his last contact with the family in late August, officials said.
Laundry drove a Ford Transit van to Florida on Sept. 1, police said. The Petito family filed a missing report to police in Suffolk County, New York, last Saturday.
Laundry’s lawyer, Steven Bertolino, said the Laundry family hopes to return Petito safe, but he asked them not to speak with investigators.
“Everyone has rights and we respect the Constitution and their rights,” Garrison admitted on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. “I can’t imagine why he’s not talking, but he has pieces of the puzzle we need to find Gabby.”
North Harbor police and others planned a news conference later Thursday to discuss the case.
Petito and Laundry were a childhood sweetheart on Long Island before moving to Blue Point, New York in 2019, living with their parents in North Port, about 34 miles (54 kilometers) south of Sarasota.
An eight-minute YouTube video titled “Van Life: The Beginning of Our Van Life Journey” features the thrilling and romantic scenes of the couple’s tour.
Petito is white, 5-foot-5 (1.6 meters) and about 110 pounds (50 kilograms), with blond hair and blue eyes, police said. She has several tattoos, including one on her forearm, “Whatever it is.”