Gabby Petito: Ranger Details The Moment She Responded To Couple’s Violence Dispute
A National Parks Service law enforcement ranger has spoken out about her discussion with Gabby Petito following a violent dispute between her and partner, Brian Laundrie.
The 22-year-old had been travelling with Laundrie in a cross-country trip when an incident of domestic violence was reported by a member of the public on August 12.
The witness said how they ‘feared the worst‘ after seeing the couple in the middle of an argument while inside their van.
Police have since released the 911 call from a witness who saw Laundrie ‘slapping’ and ‘hitting’ his partner and a National Parks Service law enforcement ranger has spoken out about how she warned Petito that the relationship seemed ‘toxic’.
According to a Moab police officer Daniel Robbins, who attended the scene, the pair seemed to be having a ‘mental health crisis’. He alleged that the couple had not been taking medication at the time of the incident.
‘The time spent created emotional strain between them and increased the number of arguments,’ he said.
According to the report, after the initial argument, Petito left the van to go and cool-off on a walk. Upon returning, Laundrie had allegedly locked her outside of the van, but after a while, Petito was allowed back in.
Robbins stated that Petito had been in a ‘manic state’ due to thinking she would be left behind, and so went to ‘slap [Laundrie]’. According to Robbins, Laundrie ‘pushed her [Petito] away to avoid the slap’. Despite the push, Petito was allegedly able to hit Laundrie in the face, which reportedly resulted in visible scratch marks.
Despite the heated nature of the argument, Robbins believed that it hadn’t ‘escalated to the level of a domestic assault’. After the incident, Robbins suggested the pair give each other some space and ‘avoid contacting each other until the next morning if at all possible’. Petito resultantly slept in the van and Laundrie went to a hotel.
Melissa Hulls, the visitor and resource protection supervisor at Arches National park, spoke to the couple after they had been pulled over by Moab police. She told Deseret News how she can ‘still hear [Gabby’s] voice’.
Hulls, who has worked as a law enforcement ranger for 17 years, interacted with the couple for around an hour-and-a-half. She admitted to Deseret News that she was ‘probably more candid with her’ than she ‘should’ve been’.
During her conversation with Petito, Hulls recalled warning the 22-year-old that her relationship with Laundrie seemed ‘toxic’.
I was imploring with her to reevaluate the relationship, asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying this was an opportunity for her to find another path, to make a change in her life.
Hulls stated how Petito seemed to have a ‘lot of anxiety’ about being away from Laundrie and thought that if things did ever change between the pair, it would be ‘after they got home to Florida’.
‘We thought we were making the right decision when we left them,’ she said.
In light of the news of a body having been found, Hulls concluded that she hasn’t yet looked back at her body camera footage, but that it is ‘hard to think about now’ as she feels like she ‘could’ve said more to help her’.
‘I wish I said more, or wish I had found the right words to make her believe that she deserved more,’ she told Deseret News.
His parents have since been removed from their home, after it was declared a ‘crime scene‘, while the search for the 23-year-old continues.
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