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Wyoming restaurant, Moab incidents are important in Gabby Petito case, FBI analyst says

An incident between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie at a Wyoming restaurant may mean more than you think in her death

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Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talks to a police officer near the entrance to Arches National Park.

This still from police camera video provided by the Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. An incident between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie at a Wyoming restaurant might be the key to solving what happened between the couple before Petito’s death.

Moab Police Department via Associated Press

An incident between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie at a Wyoming restaurant might be the key to solving what happened between the couple before Petito’s death.

Petito and Laundrie went on a cross-country road trip this summer that included stops in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. Only Laundrie returned home to North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1. Ten days later, Petito was reported missing. Her body was found on Sept. 19 on the outskirts of a Wyoming national park.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed Gabby Petito was killed by strangulation and that she had been dead for three to four weeks before her body was found, which would mean she died sometime in late August.

The manager of the Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming, said she saw ”an incident” on Aug. 27 between  Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie just days before Petito’s disappearance.

“Yes, we can confirm Gabby and Brian were in Merry Piglets … We have already notified the FBI and they are aware. We are letting them do their jobs and we are respecting Gabby’s family and have nothing further to comment,” the restaurant said in an Instagram post.

Two visitors to the restaurant — Nina Angelo and her boyfriend, Matt England — said they saw commotion between the couple at the restaurant, according to CNN.

Angelo said that Laundrie argued with a waitress at the restaurant. Laundrie had “aggressive” body language and he might have been arguing about the bill or money. Petito apologized for Laundrie’s behavior at the restaurant, too, Angelo said.

England said Petito looked “visibly upset” with Laundrie, who hounded the staff at the restaurant, per Fox News.

Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess, who helped grow the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, recently told Fox News that the Wyoming incident means a lot to the ongoing investigation.

  • “The restaurant incident … is the second and most important,” she said.
  • “How she has to apologize for his behavior is something that’s kind of characteristic, and this probably enrages him even more because he wants to appear in a certain way,” Burgess said.

She said the incident in Moab — where there was a physical altercation between the couple, which led to Moab police pulling over the couple — matters a lot, too.

Police continue to search for Laundrie, who was reported missing on Sept. 17 after he left his home on Monday, Sept. 13. Many of the search efforts have been focused on the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve.

Officials told me that the search for Laundrie did not include Utah, Wyoming or other Western locations.

“Just here,” North Port police spokesperson Joshua Taylor told the Deseret News in an email.