One of the final sightings of Gabby Petito before she vanished was so alarming to staff at a Wyoming restaurant that they reported the encounter to the FBI this week.
Details on the Aug. 27 incident at The Merry Piglets restaurant in Jackson are scarce, but a witness told CNN there was a “commotion” for all to see as tensions apparently built between Petito and Brian Laundrie, her fiancé who vanished around the same time the 22-year-old Long Island native’s body was found.
Laundrie, who was declared a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, is now the subject of massive search efforts.
Nina Angelo, who told CNN she’d been vacationing in Wyoming when she saw Petito and Laundrie at the restaurant, described a distressing scene that sounds eerily similar to another domestic incident reported weeks earlier in Moab, Utah.
Petito was seen crying as Laundrie behaved aggressively, storming in and out of the restaurant, and apparently lashing out at restaurant staff, Angelo told CNN. She recalled the waitress who served the pair as being distraught.
A manager at the restaurant was quoted confirming that there had been “an incident” and that it was reported to the FBI this week.
The reported dispute—which occurred on the same day Petito’s last text message left her mother “concerned”—provides another snapshot of the van-life couple’s relationship apparently unraveling just days before Laundrie returned home to Florida on Sept. 1 without Petito, and with no mention of where she was or what had happened to her.
Just a little over two weeks later, Petito’s body would be found, with the manner of death determined to be homicide.
The Wyoming sighting, which appears to have been the last time Petito was seen alive, echoes an incident from Moab, Utah, that took place about two weeks earlier. In that encounter, a witness told police he’d watched a dispute between Petito and Laundrie outside a natural-foods store in which “something definitely didn’t seem right.”
The couple was later stopped by police after another witness phoned 911 to report he’d seen Laundrie “slapping” Petito. No charges were filed, with police officers simply separating the two and helping Laundrie get a hotel room so the two could “reset their mental states.”
With Petito now dead, Laundrie is at the center of an FBI-led investigation into her murder. But he remains in the wind, after several fruitless days of search efforts at a North Port, Florida, wildlife preserve to which he was believed to have gone.