Brian Laundrie manhunt: Gabby Petito in new bodycam footage claims fiance hit her
Gabby Petito told a Utah police officer that Brian Laundrie hit her on Aug. 12, according to newly released bodycam video from a second Moab officer who arrived at the scene.
Utah’s domestic violence laws and the actions of the Moab Police Department are facing fresh scrutiny Friday as newly obtained bodycam footage is revealing more about the violent fight between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in Utah on Aug. 12.
A nearly hourlong video obtained by Fox News on Thursday night shows Gabby Petito telling Moab Police Officer Eric Pratt that Laundrie hit her before she seemingly backtracked and claimed she struck first.
The response ended without an arrest, and Laundrie stayed at a hotel that night, according to a police report. The couple continued on their van trip until Petito was found dead in Wyoming on Sept. 19, while Laundrie – a person of interest in her homicide and subject of a federal arrest warrant alleging debit card fraud – remains on the run.
Brett Tolman, a former U.S. attorney for Utah – and other critics on social media — are questioning whether police should have done more while responding to the incident on Aug. 12.
Moab Police Officer Eric Pratt, in bodycam footage released by investigators, is seen speaking to Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12. (Moab City Police Department)
In a 2019 podcast, Pratt said he once worked as a corrections officer for the state of Utah and was the police chief of Salina, which has a population of around 2,500, until the end of 2017.
“When I left Salina I was trying to quit law enforcement for good, and I made it about eight or nine months before I went back,” he said during his appearance on the “Books in Heinessight” podcast. “There is not a lot of job opportunities outside of law enforcement in central Utah.”
Pratt then mentioned during the show that “I’m trying again to transition out of the career of law enforcement – not because it’s not a respectable career and it’s not that I don’t respect the work that law enforcement does, but at some point in my life my heart – I fell out of love with it, if that makes sense.”
As for his handling of the Petito-Laundrie incident, the city of Moab said in a statement last week that its police department “has clear standards for officer conduct during a possible domestic dispute and our officers are trained to follow those standards and protocol.”
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“At this time, the City of Moab is unaware of any breach of Police Department policy during this incident,” it added.
But since the announcement of the investigation, Moab Police Chief Bret Edge has taken a leave of absence.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or text “START” to 88788.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.
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