A park ranger warned Gabby Petito that her relationship with her fiancé Brian Laundrie appeared “toxic” and urged her to “find another path” before Petito’s disappearance.
Melissa Hulls, the visitor and resource protection supervisor at Utah’s Arches National Park, met Petito and Laundrie on August 12 after responding to a domestic disturbance call. Hulls found the couple inside the park already pulled over by a police officer from the nearby city of Moab. Hulls spent most of her time focusing on Petito, according to Deseret News.
“I can still hear her voice,” Hulls said. “She wasn’t just a face on the milk carton, she was real to me.”
Hulls said that she warned Petito that her relationship with Laundrie seemed “toxic.” Body camera footage from the stop captured a distraught and crying Petito.
“I was probably more candid with her than I should’ve been,” Hulls said. “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.”
“She had a lot of anxiety about being away from him, I honestly thought if anything was going to change it would be after they got home to Florida.”
Petito stayed with Laundrie after the officers’ intervention. About a month later, Petito’s family reported her missing, and on Sunday, authorities found human remains in Wyoming that are believed to be Petito.
“I honestly haven’t looked at my body camera footage for that night. It’s hard to think about now because I feel like I could’ve said more to help her,” Hulls said. “It’s hard not to second-guess myself, and wish I said more, or wish I had found the right words to make her believe that she deserved more.”
Law enforcement tracked down Petito and Laundrie after a 911 caller reported witnessing Laundrie “slapping” Petito. As The Daily Wire reported:
Audio of the 911 call in question, which was first obtained by Fox News, “portrays Mr. Laundrie as the aggressor in the incident,” The Independent reported Monday.
“I’m right on the corner of Main St by Moonflower… I’d like to report a domestic dispute,” the caller says in the recording. “The gentleman was slapping the girl… they ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her and then they drove off.”
Following the alleged incident, authorities pulled over the couple but decided not to press charges on either Petito or Laundrie. Body camera footage from the stop shows a distressed and crying Petito; Laundrie seemed somewhat calm as authorities looked at the marks on his face and arm, supposedly from Petito.
The FBI raided the Laundrie family home on Monday as the federal agents looked for evidence in Petito’s disappearance. Laundrie is now missing, reported last seen by his parents September 14. The FBI has named Laundrie a person-of-interest in the Petito case.