A WEEPING Gabby Petito claimed Brian Laundry grabbed and scratched her face in a painful assault, gut-wrenching new bodycam footage shows.
The harrowing video, filmed in August and released by police in Moab, Utah, on Thursday, shows 22-year-old Gabby fighting back tears as she recounts a terrifying clash with her fiance Laundrie – who is wanted for questioning over her disappearance and death.
Gabby recounts to officers responding to an August 12 911 call how Petito, 23, grabbed her face and left a "burning" gash on her cheek and red marks on her arm.
But she insists on blaming herself for Laundrie hitting her – and admitted she slapped first
“Well he like grabbed me with his nail," she said while she stroked the side of her left cheek.
"And I guess that's why it looks, I definitely have a cut right here.
“I can feel it, when I touch it, it burns,” she added clenching both her cheeks with her right open hand
The officer asked her if Laundrie slapped her face.
When informed that two independent witnesses informed cops that they saw Laundrie strike her earlier that day – Petito tried to take the blame.
“I hit him first,” she said.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
The new bodycam footage followed a police and park ranger response to a 911 call about a domestic violence incident between Petito and Laundrie outside the Moonflower Cafe.
The footage shows van-life vlogger Petito sobbing to police after the couple drove the transit van off the road during their quarrel.
The bodycam footage was captured 13 days before Petito was last seen in alive – and released amid an ongoing frantic search for Laundrie, who disappeared from his parents' Florida home days after returning from their cross-country vacation without her on September 1.
Petito, who had been traveling across the country with Laundrie in their camper van since July 2, was last known to have been visiting Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on August 25.
She was officially reported missing by her mom on September 11, two weeks after she'd last spoken to her daughter on the phone, and ten days after Laundrie returned home to Florida in Petito’s van without her.
He failed to alert police or Petito’s family that she was missing.
Laundrie then reportedly vanished on September 14, five days before Petito's remains were discovered in the Spread Creek Dispersed Campground area, in Grand Teton National Park.
A manhunt has since ensued with Laundrie being named as a “person of interest” in the homicide death of Petito.
Since he’s been missing for more than two weeks Laundrie is now wanted on a warrant for alleged bank fraud after running up $1,000 in charges on a debit card that’s believed to have belonged to Petito.
The couple was around two months into their planned four-month cross-country road trip touring the US’ national parks before Petito vanished sometime around August 27.
The young woman’s death has quickly ruled a homicide.
The speed suggests that there are likely "visible signs of trauma consistent with an attack" Jennifer Shen, retired San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory Director, told The Sun.
The investigation into Petito's murder continues and the official cause of death hasn’t been released.
The new footage puts into question whether Laundrie had more than one cell phone during their cross-country travels.
In a moment when Laundrie attempts to retrieve Petito’s cellphone, he is seen slipping what appears to be a different phone into his pocket, according to WFLA.
Toward the end of the stop with cops and rangers, Laundrie can then be seen pulling a phone out of his pocket.
As Petito sat in one of the cop’s SUV units, one of the officers pointed out the cut on her left cheek and red soreness on her left arm, Petito looked at herself and said “I don’t know.”
“What happened here, here and there,” the officer asked again.
Petito told him: “I'm not sure. It happened really fast.”
She then started to well up in tears as she said she was trying to get back into the car and retrieve her backpack.
“And the backpack got me,” she said.
'I HIT HIM FIRST'
The officer explains they received a call from multiple witnesses saying that Laundrie struck Petito.
“So there's two people that came to us and said they saw him hit you,” the officer can be heard telling her.
“There's two people saying they saw him punch you. Just independent witnesses by Moonflower [Cafe].”
“I hit him first,” she countered.
The officer attempts to understand if Petito can confirm the witness accounts.
"Did he hit you though?" the officer asks.
"I guess," Petito said, appearing to downplay his actions.
"I guess, yeah," Petito continued, with more tears running down her face.
"But I hit him first."
The officer pressed: "Where did he hit you?
"Don't worry, just be honest."
Petito explained that Laundrie grabbed her "with his nail" and then claimed to have been the one who provoked the situation.
"He didn't like hit me in the face," she said. "He didn't like punch me in the face or anything."
'I PUSHED HER AWAY'
For Laundrie’s part, he tried to explain to the officers that he "didn’t have time" to shield himself from the 22-year-old Petito and so he claimed he acted in defense.
"I pushed her away," he tells the Moab police officer, according to the over one hour video posted online by Fox News.
"She gets really worked up, and when she does she swings and she had her cell phone in her hand.
“So I was just trying to push her away."
The witness who called police suspected Laundrie appeared to be trying to take Petito’s phone and that she was in danger of being stranded out of the van – only to try to crawl back over him through the driver side door.
'PUSH OR SHOVE'
At another point in the video, the officer tries to get the witness explain what he saw.
"Did you ever see the male strike the female?" he asked.
"I wouldn’t say that," the witness answered.
"I think I saw maybe a push or a shove, but not a full-on punch to a face or anything."
"You did see her slapping him though it sounds like," the officer asked.
"Yes," the witness replied.
Further on in the video, the officer informs Laundrie that Petito hadn't admitted he struck her.
Since the incident which let Petito ride off in the van and Laundrie crash for the night in a motel – the city of Moab announced an independent investigation into its department's handling of the domestic incident involving the dispute between the pair.
Days later, the police chief of the department decided to take a leave of absence, the Moab Times reported.
On Monday, Chief Bret Edge requested some time off through the Family Medical Leave Act.
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