Inside Gabby Petito's final days – from hotel stay to explosive fight at restaurant where she was last seen alive
DETAILS have emerged about the final days Gabby Petito spent locked in conflict with her fiancé Brian Laundrie before the 22-year-old vlogger was killed in a case that took the internet by storm.
Information pieced together from online sleuths and revelations from the official investigation paint a grim picture of the deadly road trip that led to Gabby's death.
From a 911 call reporting the couple for domestic violence to a night spent at different hotels, the events in the days leading up to the murder reveal the couple's fraught relationship.
In an explosive interview with 60 Minutes, Gabby's mom Nicole Schmidt revealed that her daughter would text, call, or FaceTime her nearly every day.
She said: "I loved getting the updates and was in awe with what she was doing. It was just amazing."
That's why the last message Schmidt received from her daughter on August 30, raised red flags.
Gabby reportedly texted "no service in Yosemite," even though she was traveling through Grand Teton National Park when she disappeared.
12 days later, Schmidt reported her missing when she didn't hear from her daughter again.
Gabby was last seen nearly a week before the mysterious last text at a Salt Lake City hotel.
Staff at the Fairfield Inn and Suites near the Salt Lake City International Airport confirmed to FOX 13 News that the 22-year-old spent more than one day at the hotel, and that law enforcement had visited recently.
Shortly after the call to police that ended in Moab officers stopping Brian and Gabby's white van, the couple were allegedly engaged in an explosive conflict at a Wyoming restaurant.
One fellow diner claims she saw Brian arguing with a waitress at the scene of the fight.
Nina Celie Angelo, of New Orleans, told Fox News she was traveling through Jackson Hole with her boyfriend on August 27 when they stopped for lunch at Merry Piglets, a Tex-Mex restaurant, between 1 and 2pm.
Angelo claims she watched in shock as Brian argued with a waitress while Gabby sat by his side.
Although Angelo said she couldn't hear the conversation, the argument seemed to be money related.
She said Brian left the restaurant and returned again at least four times.
Eventually, Gabby stepped in to apologize for the "aggressive" behavior of her fiance.
"I have chills right now," Angelo said as she recounted the incident.
"It's crazy because it wasn't just like we passed them on the street — it was a full-blown incident."
Now, a behavioral science expert has deemed the argument at the restaurant one of the most important pieces of information in determining who killed the vlogger.
Dr Ann Wolbert Burgess, who pioneered the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, told Fox News: "How she has to apologize for his behavior is something that's kind of characteristic, and this probably enrages him even more because he wants to appear in a certain way.”
She highlighted that the encounter occurred "on the day or very close to the day that she is murdered."
According to Burgess, another incident of high significance in cracking the case is the police stop executed 12 days earlier that resulted in Gabby and Brian sleeping in separate places.
On August 12, a 911 caller reported Gabby and Brian to police in Moab, Utah, claiming to have seen the 23-year-old strike his fiance.
"I'd like to report a domestic dispute," the caller said, adding that they were driving a white van with a Florida license plate.
"We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl. They ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off."
Body camera footage released by the Moab PD shows police executing the stop and reveals the emotional tension between the couple.
In the video, a distressed Gabby can be seen with tears streaming down her face as she attempts to explain the conflict to officers, while Brian has visible scratches on his body.
"We've just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues," Gabby explains.
At one point, she adds: "We have been fighting all morning and he wouldn't let me in the car before," telling cops Brian "really stresses her out."
She can be heard admitting to having hit Brian after what she calls a "rough morning".
The vlogger blames her behavior on her Obsessive Compulsive disorder: "I have OCD and I was just cleaning and straightening…
"And I was apologizing to him and saying I'm sorry that I am so mean as sometimes I am so mean because I have OCD and get really frustrated."
Meanwhile, Brian appears to joke with officers, as he says with a smile that he pushed Gabby several times in an attempt to fend off her attacks.
Later, an officer asks Gabby if Brian hit her, to which she responds "I guess," and then clasps her chin in a grabbing motion to reenact what Laundrie allegedly did.
"He like, did that with his hand," she says before the audio cuts out.
Police reported that they did not charge the pair, and instead persuaded them reluctantly to separate for the night.
After Brian told officers he could not afford a motel, he was booked a room at the Bowen Motel, a modest $78-per-night accomodation sometimes used to house domestic violence survivors.
Staff at the motel have reportedly been cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of the murder.
DATE OF THE CRIME
Now, the release of Gabby's autopsy results this week has revealed that she died three to four weeks ago, placing the date of the murder around the last week of August.
Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed that Gabby died by strangulation, adding that the body was outside "in the wilderness" until it was found.
Law enforcement announced on September 19 that remains were discovered in a campground in Grand Teton National Park, and two days later, they were confirmed to be Gabby's.
Authorities are still on the hunt for Brian, who is wanted for questioning as a person of interest in Gabby's death.
Although Brian has not been charged with any crime in relation to the murder, the FBI issued a warrant for his arrest for the unauthorized use of Gabby's debit card.
Bank records show that from August 31 to September 1, four days after the couple was spotted at the Merry Piglets restaurant, Brian swiped Gabby's Capital One card, running up a balance of $1,000.
The 23-year-old has been indicted by a federal grand jury for violating a federal statute prohhibiting use of unauthorized access devices.
Now, Brian remains at large as authorities are scouring multiple areas in search of the missing fugitive.
Law enforcement has focused on the Carlton Reserve, where Brian reportedly told his parents he was going before he vanished on September 13.
But the search effort has also branched out to other areas like the Appalachian Trail as multiple calls to police reporting sightings of Brian dot the country.
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