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CNN Special Reports

CNN Special Report: Gabby Petito and the Hunt for Justice. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 16, 2021 - 20:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The following is a CNN special report.




GABBY PETITO, AMERICAN WOMAN: So, me and Brian just got up, and got ready, made the bed, in the tent, and set up. I think our plan for today is to just hang out, here, in the tent. Brian's stretching, doing some morning yoga.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how Gabby Petito's family remembers her, happy, healthy, full of love, full of life.


G. PETITO: Wasn't done there (ph).


KAYE (voice-over): So, how did their cherished daughter, and sister, end up dead, at only 22-years-old?

Why were her remains found thousands of miles, away from her home, in the middle of the wilderness?

And why would the person closest to her, the man she thought she was going to marry, return from their cross-country trip alone, and then disappear?

The manhunt is on for Brian Laundrie, with tips pouring in from all over the country. He may be the only one who knows what happened to Gabby Petito.

Over the next hour, we'll explore their relationships, ups and downs, possible warning signs they were, headed for a dark turn, and the search for Gabby's killer.

The couple seemed very much in love, in the video and pictures, they posted online. They went to the same high school, in the town of Bayport, New York. But they didn't start dating, until years later.

When they reconnected in 2019, their relationship became so serious, Gabby even moved to North Port, Florida, to live with Brian Laundrie, and his family. They took a big step, just over a year later, in July of 2020.

This is from Gabby's Instagram page. She posted a picture from their first date. Her caption reads, "Brian asked me to marry him and I said yes! You make life feel unreal, and everyday is such a dream with you."

Brian wrote, "My biggest fear is that one day I'll wake up, and it will have all been a dream, because that is what every second has felt like since the moment we found each other. Till death do us part or until I wake up."

The couple had similar interests, art, travel, yoga, and a love of nature. So, they made this white Ford van, into a mobile home, where they would live, for the next couple of months.

And, on July 2nd, of this year, the one-year anniversary of their engagement, they set off from New York, where they were visiting Gabby's family, to begin a cross-country road trip.


G. PETITO: Hello, hello, and good morning. It is really nice and sunny today. It's only 10 o'clock in the morning.


KAYE (voice-over): Anyone following their journey online would find these beautiful photos of their trip, to echo both their words, "It seemed like a dream." At that time, there was no outward indication of trouble, no sign that something may have been very wrong.

How did their trip go from this, to this?


G. PETITO: He didn't like hit me in the face, like he didn't like punch me in the face or anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he slap your face or what?

G. PETITO: Well, like, he like grabbed me, like, with his nail, and I guess that's why it hurts. I definitely have a cut right here, because like I can feel it.


G. PETITO: When I touch it, it burns. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE (voice-over): That's police body cam footage, from Moab, Utah, on August 12th, six weeks, after Gabby and Brian started off on their trip.

We'll come back to that later.

We know Gabby and Brian checked out of this hotel, in Salt Lake City, on August 24th. That same day, she FaceTimed with her mom, and told her they were headed to Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming. It was the last time her mom would talk to Gabby.

A day later, Gabby posted this picture, on her Instagram page. It's dated August 25th. It was taken at an arts and entertainment venue, called "The Monarch."


And her caption simply reads "Happy Halloween."

KAYE (on camera): We found "The Monarch," and the same mural, posted in Gabby's Instagram photo, here in Ogden, Utah, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, and about 260 miles south of the Grand Teton.

The owner of "The Monarch" tells us that the photo Gabby posted was taken here, at "The Monarch." He also says he shared security camera video with the FBI.

KAYE (voice-over): From there, Gabby and Brian drove to the Tetons. She was still texting with her family. And they believe she was in the Tetons, around August 25th.

KAYE (on camera): So, this may have been how Gabby Petito and, her fiancee, Brian Laundrie, drove their van, to enter the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area.

We are in Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 28 miles, outside of Jackson, Wyoming. We just turned off Highway 191, and we're driving now on Forest Road 30290. And if you take a look, you could see the road is a gravel road, and it stretches for miles, into the campsite.

KAYE (voice-over): According to authorities, one of the last texts that Gabby Petito's mom received, from Gabby's phone read, "Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls." It was sent on August 27th.

The Petito family lawyer said Gabby's family thought the text was strange, because it referenced Gabby's grandfather. But her family says she never called him by his first name.

Three days later, on August 30th, a final text, from Gabby's phone. It simply read "No service in Yosemite."

This was also strange, because according to her uncle's Facebook page, Gabby had told a friend, over Snapchat, a few days before that text that she was heading to Yellowstone, which is right by the Tetons, not Yosemite, which is about 800 miles away, in California.

We don't know if that text was actually sent from Yosemite. But we now know Gabby Petito wasn't there, on August 30th. But whoever had her phone that day may have wanted to make her family think she was.


NICHOLE SCHMIDT, GABBY PETITO'S MOTHER: I don't think we can thank everybody enough.


KAYE (voice-over): Gabby's mom has said that she doesn't believe her daughter wrote that last text.

Former FBI Assistant Director, Chris Swecker, says the FBI is undoubtedly zeroing in, on the location of Gabby's cell phone, on the 30th, to determine if the text was actually sent from Yosemite.

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Seems to me the point to a cover-up. Cell phones can be tracked. If they, you know, that is something that I think the FBI has probably already discovered, is whether that cell phone was actually physically, in California, when that text was sent. I think that that text and actually the text on the 27th were both

very suspicious, given the facts and the circumstances.

KAYE (voice-over): After that, Brian Laundrie showed up alone, in North Port, on September 1st, and he kept quiet about it.


PHIL MCGRAW, AUTHOR & HOST, "DR. PHIL": A family faced with every parent's worst nightmare.


KAYE (voice-over): Gabby Petito's parents said this to Dr. Phil.


MCGRAW: He didn't tell you?


MCGRAW: He didn't tell you guys?

J. PETITO: I don't know if he told anyone. But he didn't tell us.

MCGRAW: That's what you're saying - the four of you here, he didn't tell anybody here?

N. SCHMIDT: As far as we know, our daughter was camping, in Grand Teton.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAYE (voice-over): But there's more. Police say they were never given a chance to talk to Brian Laundrie, about his missing fiancee, when they showed up at his house, on September 11th, the day Gabby's family reported her missing.




KAYE (voice-over): So, where was Gabby Petito? And why wasn't Brian Laundrie explaining why he returned home alone? That's next.




BRIAN LAUNDRIE, GABBY PETITO'S FIANCE: So, we are right outside Capitol Reef right now, in a free dispersed camp spot. And we've been lucky so far in all the places we've stayed. But I'd say this is one of the best so far.

Since we left New York, I've only set up my hammock once. And now, we're all the way in Utah. And luckily enough, I was able to set up my hammock, in one of these trees.

G. PETITO: And we're kind of like in the desert.

B. LAUNDRIE: Very few trees, I mean.

J. PETITO: Whatever you can do, to make sure my daughter comes home, I'm asking for that help. There's nothing else that matters to me now.


KAYE (voice-over): A plea for help, from one set of parents, to another.


J. PETITO: I'm asking for help from the parents of Brian. And I'm asking for help of the family members and friends of the Laundrie family as well.


KAYE (voice-over): We don't know what, if anything, Brian Laundrie told his parents, about why he returned home alone, on September 1st.

But we do know that Gabby's mom, Nichole Schmidt, told the "Daily Mail" that she texted both Brian and, his mom, Roberta Laundrie, on September 10th, saying she was trying to get in touch with Gabby. She says neither of them responded to her. The next day, on September 11th, Gabby's mom filed a missing persons report, in New York. She told the "Dr. Phil" show that at first, she was worried about both of them, until police told her that Brian was back home, in Florida, with the van.


N. SCHMIDT: I felt it. The night I found out the van was in Florida, on the 11th, I felt in my heart that she was gone.

MCGRAW: Just you knew then?




KAYE (on camera): When did the North Port police first make contact, with the Laundrie family? And were they cooperative?

JOSH TAYLOR, NORTH PORT POLICE DEPARTMENT: The first time that we had interaction with that family, was on September 11th, very late at night, blending over into the 12th, after midnight. And I would say that they were not cooperative, as far as sharing any details.

Anytime you come, and you're - you're potentially trying to figure out, if "Is someone missing? Are they - are they just not wanting to talk to their family, like what's going on?" and you have somebody else, who's like, "Well here's our attorney, his info," and that's odd. And we've said that from the beginning that that whole interaction was odd.

KAYE (on camera): Gabby Petito lived with them. And now she's missing.

TAYLOR: Right.

KAYE (on camera): And they didn't want to be asked about that.

TAYLOR: We can lead into that.

KAYE (on camera): Or take part in the--

TAYLOR: I mean, I think most people would have a take on that. Certainly, I think we summed it up the best that we could that it was odd.

KAYE (voice-over): We don't know a lot about the Laundrie family, and what their relationship was, with the Petitos.

Joe Petito told Fox News that he was told not to discuss his, quote, "Previous relationship with Brian," end quote, during the course of the investigation, which naturally raises questions, about what they thought about Brian and Gabby's relationship, even before their daughter went missing.

Brian Laundrie's sister, Cassie, told ABC News that the couple would sometimes fight, but she never saw any signs of domestic violence.


CASSIE LAUNDRIE, BRIAN LAUNDRIE'S SISTER: Me and my family want Gabby to be found safe. She's like a sister. And my children love her. And all I want is for her to come home safe.


SWECKER: I can't imagine that he would come back to the house that they were living in together, under the same roof, the parents seeing them every day, and them not asking him, "Where's Gabby?" And "What happened to Gabby?"

For him to come home, and just be silent with his parents, and them not ask him any questions, to me, is unfathomable.

KAYE (voice-over): On September 6th, the Laundries went on a family camping trip, at Fort De Soto Park, about an hour, north of their home. According to his sister, the subject of why Brian came home alone, from his trip out West, with Gabby, didn't even come up.



C. LAUNDRIE: My mom, my dad, my brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Brian say anything about Gabby?

C. LAUNDRIE: We had our kids there. Nothing came up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't say anything about Gabby?



KAYE (voice-over): In the weeks after Brian's return home, he was seen riding his bike, mowing the lawn, even going to the AT&T store, to buy a new cell phone.

The cell phone he used on the trip, along with Gabby's cell phone, according to police, are both missing.

Authorities seized the white van, used on the trip. And though they didn't find any cell phones, they are examining other material, including an external drive they took, from the van, according to a police affidavit.

Meanwhile, in a sudden twist, two days after the Petitos filed a missing persons report, about Gabby, Brian is gone.

Brian Laundrie's parents contacted North Port Police, on Friday, September 17th. They say they haven't seen Brian, since he told them he was going for a hike, at the Carlton Reserve, in Venice, Florida, three days earlier on September 14th. They say he left behind that cell phone he recently purchased, which is now in the hands of the FBI, and his wallet.

Almost three weeks later, on October 6th, the Laundrie family attorney announced his parents had revised the timeline, and now believe the last time they saw Brian, was Monday, September 13th.

KAYE (on camera): Why do you think Brian Laundrie's parents would have waited four days, to tell police that their son was missing?

TAYLOR: Yes. I can only speculate. I can only, you know, the potential that maybe they thought that he was surviving in the woods, you know? I don't want to speak for them, certainly. But I don't know, you know? That's something they'll have to answer too.

KAYE (on camera): Is there anything to suggest that you're aware of that Brian Laundrie's parents chose to give their son a head start from police?

TAYLOR: I have no information on that one way or the other. I think we all want that answer, right, or that's one of the answers that we want.

KAYE (voice-over): On September 14th, the day after Brian Laundrie's parents say they last saw him, North Port Police found the family's Mustang, parked at an entrance, to the Carlton Reserve. They tagged it as an abandoned vehicle.

The family's attorney says Brian's father went to the reserve, the night of September 13th, to look for his son, and his parents returned on the 14th, and saw the car. The next day, the lawyer says, his parents drove the car home.

The Laundrie family's lawyer issued a statement, saying "The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just wrong."


Brian Laundrie took off before Gabby's remains were even found, and he hadn't been named as a suspect in her death. So why is he missing?

By now, the FBI is involved, searching for Brian, at the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre swampland, with more than 80 miles of hiking trails. Search teams use swamp buggies, ATVs, dive teams and drones.

But are they searching the right place? Because the North Port Police say the only tip they have, about Brian Laundrie, possibly hiding out, in the Carlton Reserve, came from his parents.

KAYE (on camera): The Laundrie family still says that this is the only place, this Carlton Reserve, is the only place, they believe, Brian Laundrie to be. What do you make of that?

TAYLOR: I think that's what investigators have to go on right now. There's been no credible sources anywhere else.

SWECKER: I think it's a logical place. And they would - they actually would be negligent, if they didn't go search that place thoroughly, because there is information, whether it's credible or not, that that's where he was - he was going. But again, I'm very skeptical of the parents, because of their behavior, from day one.

KAYE (voice-over): There's no word from authorities that Brian Laundrie's parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, are under investigation, although they have been questioned by investigators.

They have not taken a polygraph test. And their lawyer had no comment, when asked if they would take one, in the future.

Chris Laundrie has gone to the Carlton Reserve, to help investigators, with their search.

For days, there are two searches underway, for Gabby, and for Brian.

Then, on September 19th, human remains are found, in a camping area, in Teton County, Wyoming. It's devastating news for the Petito family. The FBI announces the remains belong to Gabby. Her death is ruled a homicide.

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: There are times, where it's difficult to tell the difference between an accident and a homicide.

The coroner, here, came forward, with a manner of death, very quickly. So, I suspect it's quite apparent that it was clear to him it was not an accident.

KAYE (voice-over): In fact, that Teton County Coroner said someone strangled Gabby. Her cause of death was determined to be manual strangulation and throttling. The coroner also said that Gabby died three to four weeks, before her body was found, on September 19th.

Remember, she FaceTimed with her mom, on August 24th. And she was seen with Brian, at a restaurant, in Jackson, Wyoming, on the 27th.

But what about that text that was sent, from Gabby's phone, to her mom, that said "No service in Yosemite?" That was sent on August 30th. And based on the coroner's timeline, it's very unlikely she was alive on that day.

KOBILINSKY: I think in this particular case, the timeline is everything. I'm assuming there's going to be litigation in the future. And we really need to know the timeline. And that includes the time that they left New York, to the time the body was found, September 19th.

We have to know the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie. And knowing the time of death is crucial here. But we have to know where he was, when she died.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) G. PETITO: I love the van.


KAYE (voice-over): Gabby Petito is confirmed dead. Brian Laundrie is now missing.

Coming up next, internet sleuths work, to solve the case.




G. PETITO: Oh my, gosh! The tent is just coming in on me. So, it is what I had (ph). I'm just going to sit in here like this for a while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is Gabby? Where is Gabby?



KAYE (voice-over): Brian Laundrie's home, in North Port, Florida, it's not just the last place he was allegedly seen, and a key part of the investigation. But it's now a circus, and part of the mystery that has captivated the nation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found something really interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't sleep until he's found.


KAYE (voice-over): The disappearances of both Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie turned this case into an internet sensation.

Tips from amateur sleuths, poured into the "Find Gabby" Facebook page. And on TikTok, posts with the "Gabby Petito" hashtag have been viewed more than 1.3 billion times. The mystery has online detectives hooked.

Remember one of the last text messages, Gabby's mother received, from her daughter's phone? According to authorities, that text read, "Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls."

The warrant says "Stan" is Gabby's grandfather's name. But her mother says she never called him "Stan."

It didn't take long, for some, on social media, to claim Gabby may have been trying to tell her mother, she was in danger, suggesting the word "STAN," is an acronym for "Send The Authorities Now."

Adding to the intrigue, Brian Laundrie's Instagram post, in which he shares he's been reading the book, "Lullaby," about a serial killer, on a road trip.

Cyber sleuths also can't stop dissecting all of the alleged sightings.


The hiker who says he saw Brian Laundrie's on the Appalachian Trail on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, and the woman who says she caught a glimpse of Brian Laundrie in the background of her selfie, taken at Florida's Fort De Soto Park.

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: This can be helpful but it can be -- create a lot of noise for law enforcement for them to go through.

KAYE: Rumors that Laundrie was hiding out in Puerto Rico lit up the internet. After the account for what maybe one of Gabby's hiking apps appeared to show that her phone was on the island. We don't know if this is actually Gabby's account. An expert says something like this could easily be faked.

As far as we know, none of these leads have panned out, but some social media sleuths have been in touch with the FBI and may have helped them pinpoint the Wyoming National Forest where Gabby's remains were discovered on September 19th.

MIRANDA BAKER, TIKTOK USER: Hi, my name is Miranda Baker. And on August 29th, my boyfriend I picked up Brian at Grand Teton National Park at 5:30 at night at Colter Bay.

KAYE: TikToker, Miranda Baker, told authority she believes she and her boyfriend picked up Brian Laundrie when he was hitchhiking in Wyoming. That would have been five days after Gabby last facetimed her family. Baker says they picked him up at Colter Bay, about 17 miles from the Spread Creek Dispersed camping area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

BAKER: He had told us that him and Gabby were not camping on a regulated campsite to the national park that they were camping basically on the middle of nowhere along Snake River. This is key information. He said that he had hiked for days along Snake River, but when like looking at his backpack, it wasn't full. And he said all he had was a tarp to sleep on.

He did say he had a fiancee and that she was working on their social media page that got their van.

KAYE: This is Jackson Lake Dam where Miranda Baker says she dropped Brian Laundrie off. It's less than 10 miles from where she picked him up so he wasn't in the car very long. She said that he told her he was going to walk across the street to that parking lot and look for another ride to keep on hitchhiking.

Norma Jean Jalovec says she saw Miranda Baker's TikTok video and realized she may have picked up Brian Laundrie soon after he got out of Baker's car. She says she was on her way home from church when she stopped for a man matching his description, who asked her to take him to the Spread Creek camping area. And he had the same story, his fiancee was working on their travel blog in their van and he'd been camping for days along the Snake River.

She says she called the FBI and the Jackson-Wyoming police to report all of it.

SWECKER: You want people out there who may not -- who have may have just had a fleeting contact with them that helps sort of fit the timeline or help piece together the timeline. It's a piece of the puzzle.

KAYE: On August 27th, two days before the reports of Laundrie hitchhiking, video bloggers caught a glimpse of a white van parked in the Spread Creek camping area in Bridger-Teton National Forest, which borders Grand Teton National Park.

Jenn Bethune and her husband Kyle believe the van they saw was Gabby's.

What did you think when you saw that van in your footage?

JENN BETHUNE, VIDEO BLOGGER: I was just speechless. I mean, the whole world just fell out from underneath. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

KAYE: They say they spotted the van around 6:30 p.m. that day, and they didn't see anyone near it.

The video bloggers sent us the coordinates where they say they saw that van, so we're trying to find that location right now. They said it was about two and a half miles in or so and the van was right on the road.

This dispersed camping area is an undeveloped campground that offers few services. It is on the eastern boundary of the Grand Teton National Park and the views are breathtaking.

While we don't know for sure, this clearing could be where that van was parked certainly based on the distance that we were given. It is right on the road so anybody walking by or driving by certainly could have seen a van parked here.

Video blogger, Jenn Bethune, posted the video and also called the FBI, then uploaded it to the FBI's tip site. She says she sent it to the Find Gabby Facebook page too, prompting Gabby's mother to reach out.

BETHUNE: We had a good cry as two moms one the other. And she just told me that she loved me, and she couldn't thank me enough for finding that footage for her.

KAYE: On September 19th, the very same day the Bethunes posted video of that van's location, investigators located Gabby's remains in the Spread Creek Dispersed camping area, about a 10-minute walk from where the van was parked in the video according to her stepfather.

[20:35:00] Perhaps these amateur sleuths helped investigators zero in on where to search in this vast forest.

JOE PETITO, GABBY PETITO'S FATHER: Social media has been amazing. So, I just like to thank everyone for that. I do. It is greatly appreciated. That was very helpful in bringing our daughter home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us what you think what's going on outside?

KAYE: While some tips from the internet may be helpful, investigators are making progress on their own. Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie, not for anything having to do with Gabby's death, since he has not been named as a suspect. Authorities say that he allegedly used a debit card that belonged to Gabby while he was making his drive back to North Port. Experts say it's the FBI equivalent of a red alert.

SWECKER: There are a lot of good strategic reasons to have a warrant outstanding -- a federal warrant outstanding. It puts him in the system, if you will. It's called the National Crime Information Center, NCIC, that database shares information with law enforcement across the country. It also gets his identifiers into the international system Interpol. If you were to try to cross borders, it puts them in the customs -- U.S. Customs system.

KAYE: Coming up, warning signs Gabby Petito may have been in danger and possible mistakes made in the investigation.

There was a missing person and a fiancee who came home without this missing person.


KAYE: That's not enough to keep tabs on someone 24/7?

TAYLOR: Well, first of all, I'm not saying we didn't do that.



GABBY PETITO, TRAVEL BLOGGER: I'm going to need some yogurt. (INAUDIBLE)

All the chocolate melted.

BRIAN LAUNDRIE, TRAVEL BLOGGER: It's so melted. I know. It's a river of chocolate. Be cautious.

G. PETITO: You can't keep chocolate in Utah. Not in July. Or in a clear plastic container. That is always in the sun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's in my car?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's in my car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, she is in here.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how are you?

G. PETITO: Hi. I'm good.

ERIC PRATT, MOAB POLICE OFFICER: My name is Eric. I'm with Moab Police. What's your name?

G. PETITO: Gabby.

PRATT: Gabby. How old are you?

G. PETITO: I'm 22.

KAYE: This was one of the last public glimpses of Gabby Petito alive, August 12th in Moab, Utah.

Remember, we showed you a clip of this earlier. It all happened just six weeks into Gabby and Brian's road trip. And five and a half weeks before Gabby's remains would be found.

Before police stopped the couple in her van, a disturbing 911 call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We drove by and a gentleman was slapping the girl and then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.

KAYE: Was Brian Laundrie slapping his fiancee? If so was this a warning sign that their real life relationship was not at all what was portrayed on their social media? Was something terribly wrong?

PRATT: So, there's two people that came to us and told us that they saw him hit you. There's two people saying that they saw him punch you. Just independent witnesses by Moonflower.

G. PETITO: Well, to be honest, I definitely hit him first.

PRATT: Where did you hit him?

G. PETITO: I slapped him on the face.

PRATT: You slapped him first and then just on his face?

G. PETITO: He kept telling me to shut up.

PRATT: How many times did you slap him?

G. PETITO: Just a couple. PRATT: And then what? And his reaction was to do what?

G. PETITO: He grabbed my arm and so I needed to slap him.

PRATT: He just grabbed you?


PRATT: Did he -- did he hit you though? I mean -- I mean it's OK if you're saying you hit him and then I understand if he hit you, but we want to know the truth if he actually hit you.

G. PETITO: Well, I guess -- I guess yes, but I hit him first.

PRATT: Where did he hit you? Don't worry. Just be honest.

G. PETITO: Well, he grabbed my face and was like, I guess. He didn't like hit me in the face. He didn't like punch me in the face or anything.

PRATT: Did he slap your face or what?

G. PETITO: Well, he like grabbed me, like his nail and I guess that's why it hurts. I definitely have a cut right here, because I can feel it. When I touch it, it burns.

SWECKER: Classic domestic violence scenario. The victim is Stockholm as we call it. In other words, they become sort of the captive, they're very subservient to the male or to the abuser. And they take the blame -- they'll take the blame themselves and try to defuse the situation. And I saw that during the video reviewing the video of the traffic stop. He's -- you know, he's portraying himself as calm and collected, but you see her and she's very upset.

KAYE: At least one of the officers seems to key in to what appears to be an unhealthy dynamic.

PRATT: And what's his name? Is it Brian? Is he usually pretty patient with you?

G. PETITO: Yes. But I -- it just makes me upset. I know that he definitely gets frustrated with me a lot because I have a lot of anxiety and he definitely has anxiety too.

PRATT: Well, I have anxiety too. And you know, my girlfriend -- my girlfriend's really, really calm. She has a way of taking my anxiety and bringing it down. But my ex-wife -- and this is why she's ex-wife --I'm just sharing that. I know it's a little personal but to help you understand, we would feed off each other's anxiety and it would spiral, you know what I mean? And it doesn't matter how much I loved her. It may be a bad for your soul. Just saying. I'm not telling you what to do with your life, but if you know you have anxiety, look at the -- look at the situations you can get in. You know what I mean?


KAYE: Unlike Gabby, Brian Laundrie's calm, relaxed, even joking at times with police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to come stand in the shade? It can get hot.

B. LAUNDRIE: Another bald man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I know the struggle, so you guys, you don't drink or anything?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So, you were talking to these officers. I don't mean to butt in. I just felt kind of bad for you. Maybe even if you stand here, you'll have more shade.

SWECKER: In playing the role of armchair quarterback, and as I said someone who's prosecuted domestic violence situations, I would say, buddying up to him the way they did was a mistake. I think they should have gotten an interview, very thorough interview, of the people that made the 911 calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You haven't admitted striking her, she has not admitted to you striking her. The witness did not see you strike her. So, at this point, you're the victim of a domestic assault.

KAYE: But, wait, one witness, a 911 caller did say he saw a man slapping a woman and Gabby did tell an officer that Brian Laundrie hit her.

PRATT: Did he hit you though? I mean -- I mean it's OK if you're saying you hit him and then I understand that he hit you, but we want to know the truth if he actually hit you, because you know --

G. PETITO: Well, I guess -- I guess, yes.

B. LAUNDRIE: She's my fiance. I love her. It's just a little squabble. I'm sorry that it had to get so public.

KAYE: At least one officer seemed to start explaining away Brian Laundrie's actions.

PRATT: He does have marks on him that witnesses say were caused by you slapping him. And that even you say you slapped him and were aggressing him first. And I don't have anyone saying that he actually punched you aggressively. It sounds like it was shoving in a manner that was probably more consistent with trying to prevent you from entering the van or to get space from you, not to assail you if that makes sense.

SWECKER: There are some people who believe that this was a chance for an intervention or a missed opportunity for an intervention, maybe the result would have been different.

KAYE: The officers on scene ordered Brian and Gabby to stay apart for one night. Gabby stayed with the van and Brian was taken to a hotel. The city of Moab said in a statement, it's unaware that any police department policy was breached, but it is now investigating how this police stop was handled.

About two weeks after that incident, another possible warning sign at this restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming. A couple from Louisiana said they saw an incident involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in the Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant on August 27th.

Nina Angelo said she and her boyfriend were dining next to the couple before Gabby left the restaurant in tears, and Brian Laundrie got visibly angry at the staff. She said she did not see any violence or physical altercation between the couple.

A restaurant manager also said she saw an incident involving a couple that day and called the FBI after Gabby's remains were found.

Keep in mind, information about these two incidents in Jackson and Moab didn't come out until after Brian Laundrie was already missing. If authorities had known earlier, could it have made a difference in how North Port police dealt with Brian early on?

KAYE: Was it a mistake for the police not to keep tabs on Brian Laundrie ever since he -- they knew he returned home and certainly after Gabby Petito was reported missing?

TAYLOR: We didn't even know Brian Laundrie was probably a person on this planet until probably around the 10th. What I'll say though is that everyone was working extremely hard to not only try to find some answers here, but follow the law. You know, there's some things in hindsight, our memories get kind of blended between what we know now and what we knew then. You know, at that time, we didn't have a crime. We didn't have a crime in North Port.

KAYE: I know that you said there wasn't a crime reported, but there was a missing person and a fiancee who came home without this missing person, that's not enough to keep tabs on someone 24/7?

TAYLOR: Well, first of all, I'm not saying we didn't do that. But more importantly, there -- there's no probable cause at that time. It just wasn't that simple. You know, in sometimes I'll say generally speaking in an investigation, sometimes you hold back, you lay back because you want to see what that person does. You want to seeing maybe they lead you to evidence. You don't just plop yourself right in the front yard where people clam up and then they don't, you know, potentially reveal other missions.

KAYE: North Port police say they were surveilling Brian Laundrie, but only as much as they could do so legally since there was no crime and no homicide at the time. Gabby was still a missing person's case and her remains had not been found.


But if he was being watched, how did he get away on the 13th?

TAYLOR: Well, I think if you talk to a lot of people who have experience in law enforcement, I mean, the guy goes for a walk in the croutons, or if he's not one for a crime. I mean, what are we -- what are we supposed to do? We're going to go tree the tree -- tree the tree falling back through the woods? I mean, you know, it just wasn't there with the information we had in this case.

KAYE: So, from your standpoint, at this point, do you feel that there was anything that could have been done differently or any mistakes that were made?

TAYLOR: There's no investigation that's 100 percent perfect. You know, I can tell you this, it wasn't from the lack of effort. It wasn't from a lack of hustle or knowledge or working to find answers in this. I'm 100 percent comfortable in that.

SWECKER: Well, missing person cases are a little bit tricky. But to me, the difference here was she was missing under suspicious circumstances. And knowing that, I'm a little bit harder in judging the police departments on both ends of this. I think they should have taken a closer look at him.

KAYE: Coming up, will we ever really know what happened to Gabby?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Brian killed Gabby?



G. PETITO: Gabby Petito, never go to that side.

KAYE: Weeks after Gabby Petito's remains were found, we still don't know what really happened to her. And the most obvious unanswered question remains. Did he do it? Did Brian Laundrie kill Gabby Petito? He is not named as a suspect in her homicide. The arrest warrant for him is only for debit card fraud. But he was the last known person to be with Gabby Petito before she died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Brian killed Gabby?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think they're involved, your parents?

C. LAUNDRIE: I don't know.

J. PETITO: There's so much negativity in the world and you turn to this beautiful soul. And she just sees the beauty in it. Like you don't see people like that a lot. I -- it's kind of probably one of the reasons she's got so much attention is because people know that she sees the beauty in everyone and everything. And that's awesome.

SWECKER: I'm very confident that there will be justice in this case. We'll find out what happened.

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: We all need to know what happened. We all are looking for justice, especially the Petito family, but justice for everybody. We need to put it all together and have an answer to this puzzle. TAYLOR: We have to find him one way or another for closure, for Gabby's family, and apparently the world because there's a lot of people out there wanting answers to this.

JIM SCHMIDT, GABBY PETITO'S STEPFATHER: We're just hoping that through our tragedy with losing Gabby, that in the future, that some good can come out of it, that we can help other people that may be in a similar situation.

KAYE: The Petito family says every family have a missing person deserves the same attention and support they had in the search for Gabby. There are more than 91,000 active missing person records in the U.S. right now, according to the FBI and they need your help. Any sightings or tips related to any of these faces of the missing could help other families solve the mystery about their loved ones in the hunt for justice.