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Isaac Serna-Diez, Editor, Entertainment And News
Photo: Moab Police Department / Instagrambrian laundrie gabby petito body cam police
New details are emerging about Brian Laundrie’s mental health and behavior in the run up to Gabby Petito’s disappearance and death.
On August 12th, 2021, a witness reported a domestic incident that was occurring outside of Moonflower Co-op in Moab, Utah, where Laundrie had reportedly been seen hitting Petito, prompting the police to go after the van and stop them on the side of the road.
Now, a reexamination of body cam footage of the police stop released on September 16 shows Laundrie making an admission about his mental health.
Does Brian Laundrie have a mental health diagnosis?
In the body cam footage, Laundrie admits he was prescribed medication for anxiety, but stopped taking it.
While driving Laundrie to a motel for the night, a Utah police officer was chatting with Laundrie about his wife who also struggled with anxiety.
“Like I said, my wife has really really bad anxiety and she takes medication for it daily, and sometimes it’s just not enough,” the officer said. “Sometimes it builds up and it happens.”
To which Laundrie replied with his own struggles with his anxiety, and how his doctor prescribed him medication for it.
“I feel like if I took the medication, I’d put myself off balance,” he said, “and then I’d be more anxious — that’s probably just part of my anxiety.”
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie may have both been struggling with mental illness before her death, but only he was diagnosed.
“At no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying,” Officer Daniel Robbins wrote in a police report, “Breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands.”
“We’ve just been fighting this morning,” Petitio told the officer who walked up to the passenger side window. “Some personal issues.”
“It’s been a long day,” said Laundrie. “We were camping yesterday and camping got [inaudible] and stuff.”
The officer then asked Petito to get out of the car to separate from Laundrie for questioning.
“I have OCD and I was just cleaning and straightening…,” she says, sobbing. “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.”
When Dr. Phil asked Joe Petito, Gabby Petito’s dad, about her statements and behavior during the traffic stop as it relates to OCD and anxiety, he explained she did not have “manic issues or mental instability”. Her father claimed she was never diagnosed with OCD or prescribed medication for any mental health issue.
Petito was having a hard time dealing with the social media portion of the adventure they were taking, saying that Laundrie didn’t believe she could do it and adding to her stress.
Upon questioning Laundrie, the officers noticed scratches on his face that came from Petito, and so they asked her about hose as well — claiming she never meant to intentionally cause him harm.
Laundrie seemed nervous as well, repeating sentences and stumbling over words, also informing police that he suffered from anxiety as well, but that neither himself or Petito took medication for their mental illnesses.
The officer deemed that they should separate for the night but that no charges would be pressed against Petito and Laundrie would stay at a hotel near Moab.
Casey Collier, vice president of behavioral health at First Step in Sarasota, said that in that state of mental duress, especially for being on the road so long, anything was bound to put either of them in a mental health crisis.
“As I watched it, I was thinking about anyone, even without mental health obstacles, in that kind of scenario for five months isolated in a small space. That’s going to create stress for anyone,” Collier said.
“And then you add to that the mental health problems they both reported… That’s a recipe for disaster.”
Brian Laundrie’s mental health struggles may have been overlooked by police.
During the police stop, Petito was seen crying and clearly distressed but Utah police labeled her the aggressor in the incident and failed to take account of Laundrie’s mental health issues.
Had the probed what he may have been experiencing when he opened up about his anxiety, perhaps he could have been given appropriate support.
The narrative so far that Petito was “crazy,” as Laundrie called her, sees a new light since it has been revealed that Laundrie wasn’t taking care of himself and experts have reported that he showed telltale signs of a domestic abuser.
Laundrie remains a person of interest in Petito’s murder while no other suspects or people of interest have been named.
The search for the missing boyfriend enters its second week now with a warrant for his arrest for “Use of Unauthorized Access Devices,” aggregating $1,000 dollars worth of items from Petito’s accounts.
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Brian Laundrie died of gunshot wound to the head, final autopsy reveals — (New York Post)
By Marjorie Hernandez, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon and Jack Morphet
November 23, 2021 1:26pm Updated
Brian Laundrie, the sole suspect in the death of Long Island native Gabby Petito, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, a lawyer for his family said Tuesday.
“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide,” attorney Steve Bertolino told The Post. “Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families.”
A forensic anthropologist determined the manner of death to be suicide. Neither Betolino nor the bureau had previously mentioned a gun being involved.
Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, had been missing a pistol ever since he took off, their lawyer claimed.
“While law enforcement was at the Laundrie home on Sept. 17 to complete the missing person report for Brian, we volunteered to surrender all guns in the home to avoid any possible issue going forward,” attorney Bertolino said.
“While retrieving and taking inventory of the guns, it was realized one pistol was missing,” he said.
The District Twelve Medical Examiner in Sarasota initially said they identified Laundrie through dental records, but said in a release Tuesday that they also used “DNA analysis” to make the determination.
Bodycam footage from August 12, 2021 featuring a very distressed Gabby Petito.
Moab City Police Department
In a statement Tuesday, Petito family lawyer Richard Stafford said his clients are aware of the suicide determination, but said they have been asked by federal prosecutors to refrain from issuing a statement.
“The family was asked to not make any comments and let the FBI continue the investigation,” Stafford wrote. “The family was also asked to wait for the United States Attorney’s Office to make a determination on whether any additional individuals will be charged.”
Authorities have not identified any other persons of interest in the case but Laundrie’s parents have been the target of unproven claims by protesters and internet sleuths that they helped their son elude police.
The remains of Gabby Petito were found on Sept. 19, 2021 in a Wyoming national park.
Laundrie, 23, was sought in Petito’s disappearance and death when authorities discovered his skeletal remains at the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve near his parents’ home in North Port, Fla., on Oct. 20.
Police said his remains were submerged for weeks inside the marshy park before they were found — creating a challenge for coroners.
The young couple was on a cross-country trip when Petito, a 22-year-old Long Island native, went missing and Laundrie returned home in her van without her on Sept. 1.
Moab police were called on to settle what appeared to be a domestic dispute between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie.
Moab police were called on to settle what appeared to be a domestic dispute between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie during the couple’s trip.
The Moab Police Department via AP, File
Law enforcement searching for evidence in the north port side of the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on October 5, 2021.
Law enforcement searching for evidence in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Oct. 5, 2021.
KEVIN C DOWNS
The area in which Brian Laundrie’s remains were found at the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve on October 21, 2021.
The area in which Brian Laundrie’s remains were found at the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve on Oct. 21, 2021.
Petito’s mother reported her daughter missing 10 days later, but authorities found her remains in a Wyoming campground on Sept. 19.
Her death was ruled a homicide by manual strangulation while Laundrie remained missing and was the subject of a massive FBI-led manhunt.
Laundrie was also charged with using his girlfriend’s bank card in Wyoming.
That search ended when his partial skeletal remains were found, but after his initial autopsy results were inconclusive, the were sent to an anthropologist for further review.
Federal prosecutors in Wyoming also said Tuesday that they will drop fraud charges against Laundrie for allegedly racking up more than $1,000 on Petito’s debit card days after she was last seen alive.