BRIAN Laundrie did hit his fiancée Gabby Petito during their alleged incident in Utah but "officers still failed to save her", police audio footage reveals.
The couple’s white camper van was pulled over in Moab on August 12 after a witness called 911 following a "dispute" involving the couple.
The dispatcher says: “RP (Recording party) states seeing a male hit a female, domestic", according to the footage, obtained by Fox13.
They continue: "He got into a white Ford Transit van, has a black ladder on the back, Florida plate.”
Moments later, cops asked for more information and they are told Gabby had been allegedly hit.
The dispatcher says: “Phone number is [redacted], name’s [redacted].
The dispatcher says: “I’m not sure, but the female who got hit, they both, the male and the female both got into the van and headed north.”
Officials at the Moab police department have since launched a probe into the case.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
It comes amid a slew of criticism leveled against the officers who responded to the call.
State law requires cops to make an arrest or issue a citation if they believe a domestic violence incident has taken place.
Cops responded to a call between the young couple outside a grocery store last month.
Gabby appeared to admit to cops that she hit Laundrie, according to police bodycam footage.
With tears streaming down her face, Petito told the officer: "We've just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues."
The vlogger was visibly distressed as she explained to the officer what they had been arguing about, while Laundrie was seen joking and laughing with the cops.
She said: "We have been fighting all morning and he wouldn't let me in the car before,"
Gabby told cops Laundrie "really stresses her out" and said it had been a "rough morning".
'A ROUGH MORNING'
Petito admitted hitting Laundrie, who told the officers with a smile that he had pushed Gabby several times in a bid to fend her off, the footage shows.
Officers noticed scratch marks on Laundrie’s hands, arm and torso.
The vlogger was quizzed by cops about what she was trying to achieve by striking Laundrie.
She said: “I was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down."
In the police report, Laundrie was listed as the victim and Petito the suspect.
The pair were told to separate by police as they did not make any arrests.
The incident was categorized as a “mental/emotional health break” rather than a domestic assault.
Criminal defense attorney Phillip Holloway told Fox News that he believes the cops could have saved Gabby's life had they acted differently during the call.
He said: “An eyewitness saw Brian using physical violence against Gabby and other information suggested that she was also involved in some type of mutual combat [with Laundrie].
'COPS COULD'VE SAVED GABBY'
"At a bare minimum, the investigation on the side of the road developed, I believe, probable cause that would have been sufficient to charge one or both of them with some type of domestic violence.”
Holloway believes they could’ve “changed the trajectory” of Petito’s fate, possibly saving her life.
And, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ziv Evra Cohen noted Laundrie’s calmness when explaining the situation compared to Gabby who looked “overwhelmed”.
He told Fox News: "She was emoting so much that it was very clear that there had been an incident and there had been a problem of some kind that she was struggling with."
The encounter came just weeks before Gabby was reported missing.
Gabby last spoke with her family on August 25 as she and Brian reached Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The couple had planned to go to Yellowstone but never made it.
Laundrie returned to Florida on September 1 alone without his fiancée.
Gabby was reported missing on September 11 – a week before remains were found by cops and FBI detectives in Wyoming.
Laundrie was named as a person of interest in the case by police after he was accused of “hindering” the probe.
He immediately hired a lawyer and refused to cooperate with cops.
Laundrie’s parents reported Brian missing on September 17 – days after he reportedly told them that he was going for a hike.
Cops continue to scour the alligator and snake-infested Carlton nature reserve in Sarasota. Laundrie remains at large.
Dog the Bounty Hunter has since joined the search and said he's getting phone calls to his anonymous tip line every two or three minutes.
He said: "A lot of the information he's received points to the Appalachian Trail.
"If there’s anywhere out there that looks the hottest, that could be the area.
"I think he’s young enough, not an experienced criminal, but what is his greatest experience? Outdoorsman – that’s what he does the best.
"I don’t think he can shoplift, live on the run, live in cheap hotels. On a one-to-10 he’s probably a six, compared to the outdoorsmen and some of the guys I’ve captured."
And, past social media posts appear to show that Laundrie was researching supplies for a stint in the wild that could help him survive for months.
There have been several alleged sightings but most have led to dead ends.
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