(NewsNation Now) — Gabby Petito told a Utah police officer that her then-fiancé, Brian Laundrie, grabbed her during an argument in newly released bodycam footage, but she said she started the physical altercation.
The footage is from the same day as previous video that showed Petito was nearly cited for domestic violence, but police allowed her and Laundrie to leave separately. The fights happened just weeks before Petito was last heard from, and more than a month before her body was found.
In the new video, a Moab police officer tells Petito he can see marks on her face within minutes of meeting her. She initially dismisses it as an accident involving a backpack, but the officer continued to press her.
“There’s two people that came to us and told us that they saw him hit you,” the officer told Petito in the video. “There’s two people saying that they saw him punch you.”
“Well, to be honest, I definitely hit him first,” Petito said. She admitted to slapping Laundrie in the face “a couple” of times. She told the officer he then grabbed her, and put his hand around her jaw, and his nails dug into her cheek.
She said Laundrie did not punch or slap her. The two of them had spent months in the van together on a cross-country trip and were having arguments, she told them.
The officer then called one of the witnesses, who clarified he did not see Laundrie hit her.
“I just noticed this couple was sort of arguing a bit,” the witness told the officer over the phone. “It seemed like they were sort of arguing over a phone. It seemed like he was trying to grab her phone.”
“I think I saw maybe a push or a shove but not a full-on punch to the face or anything,” the witness said.
Petito said she hit Laundrie because she was frustrated he was telling her to calm down, the investigation revealed. Once officers confirmed that, they said they were obligated under Utah law to at least cite Petito with domestic assault.
You can watch the full bodycam video in the player below.
When they told her she would have to be separated from Laundrie and appear at an online court hearing, she broke down and begged for a traffic ticket instead.
“I don’t want to be separated,” she said as she cried. “Please. We’re a team, please. It’s going to give me so much anxiety, can we just have a driving ticket?”
The officers did not think a domestic violence citation was warranted, and one of them called a supervisor. After that, he asked Petito what her intent was behind hitting Laundrie.
“When you slapped him those times, were you attempting to cause him physical pain or physical impairments?” he asked.
“No, never,” Petito shot back.
The officer decided that meant she did not intend to hurt him, and therefore her action did not rise to the level of domestic assault. Eventually, the couple was told to spend the night apart, but Petito was not cited.
Previously released footage from this encounter with police mostly showed Laundrie’s account, and Petito was further away from the microphone. He told officers she had “gone into a manic state” after an argument, and he locked her out of their van so she could cool off. She opened the driver’s side door and the two struggled as she got back inside.
Petito was last heard from Aug. 27. Laundrie returned home from their cross-country trip alone Sept. 1, and she was reported missing Sept. 11.
Petito’s body was found in Wyoming on Sept. 19.
Laundrie is wanted on a bank fraud charge, but has been missing since Sept. 14, according to his lawyer.