Brian Laundrie ‘swung at Gabby Petito with a CLOSED fist’ during fight in Wyoming weeks before her death, new witness claims

  • Chandler, who only went by his first name, 26, said he was stopped at a red light when he noticed Brian Laundrie, 23, swing at Gabby Petito, 22
  • ‘It was kind of like a slapping motion, but with a closed fist,’ he said. ‘They were kind of yelling and then Brian swung at her, I believe it was his left hand’
  • Chandler admitted it wasn’t a hard slap, but that ‘she definitely felt it’ 
  • He said: ‘When she hit into the van, she pretty much hit her back and probably the back of her head’ 
  • Petito later admitted to police that he had ‘grabbed’ her face and she had ‘slapped’ him a ‘couple of times’ 
  • Petito’s remains were found on September 19, 2021, and she reportedly died exactly one year ago today  

A new witness claims he saw Brain Laundrie ‘swing’ at Gabby Petito with a ‘closed fist’ during a fight in Wyoming just days before her death.

Chandler, 26, who asked to go only by his first name, told The Sun he was stopped at a red light when he noticed Laundrie, 23, striking Petito, 22, outside of Moonflower Community Cooperative in Wyoming on August 12, 2021. 

Chandler insisted that Laundrie was the aggressive one and hit Petito – who died exactly one year ago today – with ‘a closed fist.’ 

‘It was kind of like a slapping motion, but with a closed fist,’ he told The Sun. ‘They were kind of yelling and then Brian swung at her, I believe it was his left hand.’ 

He recalled seeing the couple fighting near the back passenger-side tire when he saw Laundrie lightly swing at Petito, striking her in the face and causing her to fall back against the white van. 

‘She definitely felt it [the hit],’ Chandler told The Sun. ‘When she hit into the van, she pretty much hit her back and probably the back of her head.’

A new witness claims he saw Brain Laundrie ‘swing’ at Gabby Petito with a ‘closed fist’ during a fight outside of Moonflower in Wyoming on August 12, 2021. Petito (pictured then) told officers he had ‘grabbed’ her face and she had slapped him a ‘couple of times’ 

The witness, Chandler, who only went by his first name, 26, said he saw Laundrie (pictured on August 12, 2021) hit her, but admitted it wasn’t a hard hit, but she ‘definitely felt it’ 

Chandler insisted that Laundrie was the aggressive one and hit Petito – who died exactly one year ago today – with ‘a closed fist.’

From there, the pair started reportedly yelling at each other before Laundrie walked away and his girlfriend followed. 

Chandler, who was ‘very much’ shocked by the encounter he witnessed, kept driving after he saw other locals approach the couple. 

Another witness called 911 and reported they saw Laundrie slap Petito before they both climbed into the van and took off. 

It was also reported that Laundrie had attempted to prevent Petito from getting back into the van. 

‘They were talking aggressively [at] each other [and] something definitely seemed off,’ the witness, identified only as Christopher in a statement, obtained by Fox News, wrote. ‘At one point, they were sort of fighting over a phone – I think the male took the female’s phone. It appeared that he didn’t want her in the white van.’

Moab Police – which is facing a $50million lawsuit from Petito’s family – caught up with the van life couple shortly after and separated the two to ask what happened. 

The fight happened outside of Moonflower, where several witnesses claim Laundrie hit Petito

In recently released body-cam footage, Petito was seen telling officers that Laundrie had ‘grabbed’ her, but insisted that she ‘slapped’ him first. 

An officer could be seen gently pointing to the young woman’s cheek and asking if he could ‘see the other side of your face,’ which appeared slightly bruised. 

She claimed the ‘backpack got me’ as she had climbed back into the van, but when the officer insisted ‘two independent witnesses’ had claimed Laundrie had hit her and that there was a domestic dispute, she changed her story. 

Stating: ‘Well, to be honest, I hit him first.’ 

She admitted to slapping him a ‘couple of times’ because he ‘told me to shut up.’ 

Petito then told officers back in August 2021 that she ‘guessed he hit her,’ but again insisted she hit him first. 

‘He grabbed my face,’ she admitted. ‘He didn’t, like, hit me, he didn’t, like, punch me in the face.’ 

When asked if Laundrie had slapped her, she replied: ‘He grabbed my face with his nail. I definitely have a cut right now, I can feel it.’  

Petito’s family is now gearing up to sue the Moab Police Department for wrongful death after the cops who pulled the couple over failed to see she was in a dangerous situation. 

The $50 million notice of claim contends police in the tourist town of Moab missed signs that Petito was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Laundrie. 

A witness claimed in a report they were fighting over a phone and Laundrie tried to prevent Petito from getting into the van

The pair had been traveling on a cross-country trip together, starting on July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11

‘If the officers had been properly trained and followed the law, Gabby would still be alive today,’ said attorney James McConkie in a statement announcing the filing of the notice of claim.

Notices of claims are required before people can sue government entities and the family’s claim said that the lawsuit will seek $50 million in damages.

Petito was reported missing a month after that traffic stop, and her strangled body was discovered on September 19 on the edge of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Laundrie, 23, later killed himself in Florida after being named the only person of interest in her death. Petito and Landrie were originally from Long Island, New York.

The search for Petito drew worldwide attention, spurring amateur sleuths to scour social media for clues.

Earlier this year, an independent investigation found that police in Moab made ‘several unintentional mistakes’ when they came across Petito and Laundrie.

In the report, police said it was very likely that Petito ‘was a long-term victim of domestic violence, whether that be physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.’

Gabby’s remains were discovered on September 19, 2021, in an isolated spot in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

She and her boyfriend had lived with his parents in North Port. The young couple set off on an adventure from New York State, where her mother lives, in early July and headed West.

However, on September 1, Laundrie arrived back at the his family home on his own in Gabby’s white Ford van. Eleven days later Gabby’s mother reported her missing after last having contact in a phone call on August 25.

Hours after Gabby’s mom raised the alarm, North Port Police hauled the white van out of the Laundrie’s driveway and took it off for forensic examination.

Officers asked to speak to Laundrie at the house, but were told by his parents he wasn’t available. It is not known if the killer was inside at the time.

Laundrie then went missing in Carlton Reserve, sparking a massive hunt involving local police, the FBI and at least two sheriff’s departments.

His parents initially told police he vanished on September 14 to go hiking in the reserve, but later changed this to a day earlier. His body was eventually found in the swamp on October 20 after his parents joined law enforcement there.

The Petito family (pictured: her mother) are planning on suing the Moab Police Department for $50million, stating they failed to recognize that Petito was a victim of domestic violence 

Petito’s remains were found on September 19, 2021, and she died exactly one year ago today

Laundrie killed himself in a Florida swamp, leaving behind a notebook that authorities said contained a confession. His body was found on October 20. 

The murderer admitted that he strangled Petito as the result of an ‘unexpected tragedy’ in Grand Teton National Park, in which Gabby fell into a creek and injured herself on their road trip last summer.

And he began the notebook with a personal message addressed to Gabby, in which he claimed: ‘I wish I could be at your side, I wish I could be talking to you right now.’

Laundrie claimed he battled to comfort Gabby, who was deteriorating, crying in pain and shivering from constant cold.

But eventually he killed her, writing: ‘I don’t know the extent of Gabby’s injuries, only that she was in extreme pain.

‘I ended her life. I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistake that I made. I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain.’

His notebook was found in a dry bag beside his body on October 20 last year after he fled to the alligator-infested Carlton Reserve near North Port, Florida. He’d shot himself in the head. 


 


Laundrie wrote that he could not live without Petito after he killed her, writing his sucide note and plans to die by the Florida creek where his body was eventually found 


 


Laundrie’s waterlogged journal, where he confessed to the murder of Petito 

Timeline of missing Gabby Petito’s case

July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip

August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple

Aug. 17: Laundrie allegedly flies back to Florida to ‘clear out a storage unit’   

Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah 

Aug. 23: Laundrie flies back to Utah to ‘rejoin Gabby’ on their trip 

Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie

Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nichole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park

Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes 

Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground; Witnesses say they saw a ‘commotion’ with the couple at Merry Piglets Tex-mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming 

Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm

Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito’s phone: ‘No service in Yosemite’

Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito

Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida

Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day

Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito

Sept. 13: Laundrie’s lawyer says on October 5 that his parents now ‘believe’ this was the day they last saw him heading for a hike

Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Laundrie’s parents claim on September 17 that Laundrie left his parents’ home for a hike this day and they hadn’t seen from him since 

Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case

Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown

Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie

Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon

Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation

Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carlton Reserve 

Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13 

Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando 

Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie 

Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children 

Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left 

Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14;  

Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home 

Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did 

Oct. 2: A hiker along the Appalachian Trail claims to have seen Laundrie near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina 

Oct. 3: Investigators searched the area on the Appalachian trail for any signs that Laundrie had been there  

Oct. 4: Laundrie’s sister told protestors outside her home that her family has been ignoring her after they rebuked her story and that she does not know where her brother is

Oct 5: Laundrie’s sister appeared on Good Morning America to say she would turn her brother in if she knew where he is;  

Oct. 7: Laundrie’s father Christopher joins FBI agents on the search for his son at the Carlton Reserve but the search brings up no clues 

Oct. 12: Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announces autopsy findings which show Petito died by strangulation; No specific date of death was given – only that she was dead 3-4 weeks before her body was found 

Oct. 16: Petito’s parents are seen collecting her ashes from the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming

October 20: Human remains found in Carlton Reserve 

October 21: FBI confirm the body found belongs to Brian Laundrie. A notebook, backpack and dry bag are also found near the body

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