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CNN Special Reports
CNN Special Report: Gabby Petito And The Hunt For Justice. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired October 22, 2021 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening and welcome to the "CNN Special Report." I'm Randi Kaye in North Port, Florida.
Gabby Petito's disappearance and death has captured the attention of the nation, and it has been a fast-moving investigation. Just this week, human remains were found here at the Carlton Reserve, and according to the Sarasota County Medical Examiner's Office, those remains have been identified as Brian Laundrie. The manhunt for Brian is over, but there are still so many questions about Gabby's death.
Over the next hour, we'll explore their relationship's up and downs, potential warning signs they were headed for a dark turn, and the search for what happened to Gabby.
GABBY PETITO, MURDERED BLOGGER: Me and Brian just got up and got ready, made the bed in the tent set up. I think our plan for today is to just hang out here in the tent. Brian is stretching, doing some morning yoga.
KAYE (voice-over): This is how Gabby Petito's family remembers her: happy, healthy, full of love, full of life.
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, returned from their cross-country trip alone and then disappear? He may be the only one who knows what happened to Gabby Petito.
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 re-connected 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 love feel unreal, and every day is such a dream with you.
Brian wrote, my biggest fear is that one day I will 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 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.
PETITO: Hello, hello and good morning. It is really nice and sunny today. It is 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?
PETITO: He didn't like hit me in the face. He didn't like punch me in the face or anything.
UNKNOWN: Did he slapped your face or what?
PETITO: Well, he like grabbed me, like, with his nail and I guess that's why it hurts. I definitely had a cut right here, because like I can feel it.
PETITO: When I touch it, it burns.
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 will 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.
KAYE (voice-over): It is dated August 25th. It was taken at an arts and entertainment venue called "The Monarch," and her caption simply reads, happy Halloween.
(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 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.
(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.
(On camera): So, this may have been how Gabby Petito and her fiance 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 can see the road is a gravel road and it stretches for miles into the camp site.
(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 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.
NICOLE SCHMIDT, MOTHER OF GABBY PETITO: 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 cellphone 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 to point to a coverup. Cellphones can be tracked if they -- that is something that I think the FBI is probably already discovered, is whether that cellphone 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, TELEVISION SHOW HOST: A family faced with every parent's worst nightmare.
KAYE (voice-over): Gabby Petito's parents said this to Dr. Phil.
UNKNOWN: He didn't tell us.
MCGRAW: He didn't tell you guys?
UNKNOWN: I don't know if he told anyone, but he didn't tell us.
MCGRAW: He didn't tell anybody here.
SCHMIDT: As far as we knew, our daughter was camping in Grand Teton.
KAYE (voice-over): But there is 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.
CROWD: Where is gabby? Where is gabby? Where is Gabby?
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, FIANCE OF MURDERED BLOGGER GABBY PETITO: So, we are right outside Capitol Reef right now, in 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 lucky enough, I was able to set up my hammock, in one of these trees.
PETITO: And we're kind of like in the desert.
LAUNDRIE: Very few trees, I mean.
JOSEPH PETITO, FATHER OF GABBY 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, Nicole 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 person's report in New York. She told to "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.
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 (voice-over): 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.
TAYLOR: You know, any time you come and you're potentially trying to figure out if someone is missing or they just not wanting to talk to their family, like what is going on, and you have somebody else who is like, well, here is our attorney, his info, 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.
KAYE (on camera): And they didn't want to be asked about that or take part in the --
TAYLOR: We can lead into that. 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, SISTER OF BRIAN LAUNDRIE: 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 is 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.
UNKNOWN: Who was there?
C. LAUNDRIE: My mom, my dad, my brother.
UNKNOWN: Did Brian say anything about Gabby?
C. LAUNDRIE: We had our kids there. Nothing came up.
UNKNOWN: He didn't say anything about Gabby?
C. LAUNDRIE: No.
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 cellphone. The cellphone he used on the trip along with Gabby's cellphone, according to police, are both missing.
Authorities seized the white van used on the trip and though they didn't find any cellphones, 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 person's 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 cellphone 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.
(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?
KAYE (voice-over): By now, the FBI is involved, searching for Brian at the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre swamp land with more than 80 miles of hiking trials. 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 Brial Laundrie, possibly hiding out in the Carlton Reserve, came from his parents.
(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 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 the 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, the 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 is 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 on September 19th. We have to know the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie. And knowing the time of death is crucial here. We have to know where he was when she died.
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. The wind is so bad. I've been sitting here like this for a while.
UNKNOWN: Where is Gabby? Where is Gabby?
UNKNOWN: Back up.
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.
UNKNOWN: I found something really interesting.
UNKNOWN: 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 in the "Find Gabby" Facebook page. And on TikTok, posts with the "Gabby Petito" hashtag have been viewed 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 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.
SWECKER: This can be helpful but it can be -- create a lot of noise for law enforcement for them to go through.
KAYE (voice-over): Rumors that Laundrie was hiding out in Puerto Rico lit up the internet after the account for what maybe one of Gabby's hiking 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 and I picked up Brian at Grand Teton National Park at 5:30 at night at Colter Bay.
KAYE (voice-over): 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 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 back at their van.
KAYE (on camera): 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 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 (voice-over): On August 27th, two days before the reports of Laundrie hitchhiking, video bloggers caught a glimpse of a 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.
(On camera): 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 fell out from underneath. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
KAYE (voice-over): They say they spotted the van around 6:30 p.m. that day, and they didn't see anyone near it.
(On camera): 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.
(Voice-over): This disbursed 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. (On camera): 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.
(Voice-over): 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 to 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 (voice-over): 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. Perhaps these amateur sleuths helped investigators zero in on where to search in this vast forest.
J. PETITO: 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.
UNKNOWN: Can you tell us what you think what's going on outside?
KAYE (voice-over): 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.
SWECKER: It is 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 (voice-over): Coming up, warning signs Gabby Petito may have been in danger and possible mistakes made in the investigation.
(On camera): There was a missing person and a fiancee who came home without this missing person.
KAYE (on camera): 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.
G. PETITO: I'm going to make some yogurt. We're going to steal some of his granola. All the chocolate melted.
B. LAUNDRIE: 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.
UNKNOWN: She's in my car?
UNKNOWN: This isn't my car.
UNKNOWN: Oh, she is in here.
UNKNOWN: (INAUDIBLE) unlock it?
UNKNOWN: 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 (voice-over): 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.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 are two people that came to us and told us that they saw him hit you. There are 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?
G. PETITO: Yes.
PRATT: Did he -- did he hit you though? I mean, it's okay 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.
G. PETITO: 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 themselves and try to diffuse the situation. And I saw that during the video reviewing, the video of the traffic stop. He's portraying himself as calm and collected, but you see her and she's very upset.
KAYE (voice-over): 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 is really, really calm. She has a way of taking my anxiety and bringing it down. But my ex-wife -- and that's why she's my 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 you 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 (voice-over): Unlike Gabby, Brian Laundrie is calm, relaxed, even joking at times with police.
UNKNOWN: You want to come stand in the shade? It can get hot.
B. LAUNDRIE: Another bald man.
UNKNOWN: Yes, I know the struggle. So, you guys, you don't drink or anything?
B. LAUNDRIE: No.
UNKNOWN: Okay. 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.
UNKNOWN: You haven't admitted to 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 (voice-over): 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 it's okay 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.
B. LAUNDRIE: She's my fiancee. I love her. It's just a little squabble. I'm sorry that it had to get so public.
KAYE (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 the 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?
(On camera): 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 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 are 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 (on camera): I know that you said there wasn't a crime reported, but there was a missing person and a fiance 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 is no probable cause at that time. It just wasn't that simple. You know, 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 see maybe they lead you to evidence. You don't just plop yourself right in the front yard where people clam up and they don't, you know, potentially reveal other issues.
KAYE (voice-over): 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.
(On camera): 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 Carlton Reserve, he's not wanted for a crime, I mean, what are we supposed to do? We are going to go tree to tree following him back through the woods? I mean, you know, it's just wasn't there with the information we had in this case.
KAYE (on camera): 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 is no investigation that's 100% 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% comfortable in that.
SWECKER: Well, missing person case 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 (voice-over): Coming up, will we ever really know what happened to Gabby?
UNKNOWN: Do you think Brian killed gabby?
G. PETITO: Gabby Petito, never go to that side.
KAYE (voice-over): 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? But he was the last known person to be with Gabby Petito before she died.
UNKNOWN: Do you think Brian killed Gabby?
C. LAUNDRIE: I don't know.
UNKNOWN: 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. It is kind of probably one of the reasons she has 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.
KOBILINSKY: 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.
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 (voice-over): The Petito family says every family of a missing person deserves the same attention and support they had in the search for Gabby.
KAYE (voice-over): 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.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Good evening. We begin tonight with breaking news and unanswered questions in the fatal shooting with the prop handgun on the set of an Alec Baldwin movie that wounded the film's director, Joel Souza, and took the life of the director of photography, Halyna Hutchins. It happened in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin himself pulled the trigger and hard as it might be to believe, this is at least the third such deadly incident involving prop firearms.
In a moment, new word on working conditions on sets, specifically whether safety protocols were followed. We will be joined by a "Los Angeles Times" writer who contributed to the reporting on that.
First, the call to Santa Fe County 911, which was obtained by CNN affiliate KOAT. Usual warnings about difficult content apply.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Santa Fe Fire and EMS, what is the location of your emergency?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Bonanza Creek Ranch. We've had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun. We need help immediately.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): OK.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Bonanza Creek Ranch. Come on.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Stay on the phone with me.