Brian Laundrie Was Prescribed Medication For Mental Illness Before Gabby Petito's Death — But Refused To Take It

Photo: Moab Police Department / Instagram
brian laundrie gabby petito body cam police

New details are emerging about Brian Laundrie's mental health and behavior in the run up to Gabby Petito's disappearance and death.

On August 12th, 2021, a witness reported a domestic incident that was occurring outside of Moonflower Co-op in Moab, Utah, where Laundrie had reportedly been seen hitting Petito, prompting the police to go after the van and stop them on the side of the road. 

Now, a reexamination of body cam footage of the police stop released on September 16 shows Laundrie making an admission about his mental health. 

Does Brian Laundrie have a mental health diagnosis?

In the body cam footage, Laundrie admits he was prescribed medication for anxiety, but stopped taking it.

RELATED: Brian Laundrie's Parents May Be Forced To Pay For Estimated $1.2 Million Manhunt For Son

While driving Laundrie to a motel for the night, a Utah police officer was chatting with Laundrie about his wife who also struggled with anxiety.

“Like I said, my wife has really really bad anxiety and she takes medication for it daily, and sometimes it’s just not enough,” the officer said. “Sometimes it builds up and it happens.”

To which Laundrie replied with his own struggles with his anxiety, and how his doctor prescribed him medication for it.

“I feel like if I took the medication, I’d put myself off balance,” he said, “and then I’d be more anxious — that’s probably just part of my anxiety.”

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie may have both been struggling with mental illness before her death, but only he was diagnosed.

“At no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying,” Officer Daniel Robbins wrote in a police report, “Breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands.”

RELATED: Black Tarp From Gabby Petito’s Van May Be Key Evidence In Linking Brian Laundrie To Her Death

"We've just been fighting this morning,” Petitio told the officer who walked up to the passenger side window. “Some personal issues."

"It's been a long day,” said Laundrie. “We were camping yesterday and camping got [inaudible] and stuff."

The officer then asked Petito to get out of the car to separate from Laundrie for questioning.

"I have OCD and I was just cleaning and straightening...," she says, sobbing. "And I was apologizing to him and saying I'm sorry that I am so mean as sometimes I am so mean because I have OCD and get really frustrated.”

When Dr. Phil asked Joe Petito, Gabby Petito's dad, about her statements and behavior during the traffic stop as it relates to OCD and anxiety, he explained she did not have "manic issues or mental instability". Her father claimed she was never diagnosed with OCD or prescribed medication for any mental health issue

Petito was having a hard time dealing with the social media portion of the adventure they were taking, saying that Laundrie didn’t believe she could do it and adding to her stress.

Upon questioning Laundrie, the officers noticed scratches on his face that came from Petito, and so they asked her about hose as well — claiming she never meant to intentionally cause him harm.

Laundrie seemed nervous as well, repeating sentences and stumbling over words, also informing police that he suffered from anxiety as well, but that neither himself or Petito took medication for their mental illnesses.

RELATED: Police Report Shows Brian Laundrie’s Car Was Never At Carlton Reserve As Parents Change Timeline Of His Disappearance

The officer deemed that they should separate for the night but that no charges would be pressed against Petito and Laundrie would stay at a hotel near Moab.

Casey Collier, vice president of behavioral health at First Step in Sarasota, said that in that state of mental duress, especially for being on the road so long, anything was bound to put either of them in a mental health crisis.

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“As I watched it, I was thinking about anyone, even without mental health obstacles, in that kind of scenario for five months isolated in a small space. That's going to create stress for anyone,” Collier said.

“And then you add to that the mental health problems they both reported... That's a recipe for disaster.”

Brian Laundrie's mental health struggles may have been overlooked by police.

During the police stop, Petito was seen crying and clearly distressed but Utah police labeled her the aggressor in the incident and failed to take account of Laundrie's mental health issues.

Had the probed what he may have been experiencing when he opened up about his anxiety, perhaps he could have been given appropriate support. 

The narrative so far that Petito was “crazy,” as Laundrie called her, sees a new light since it has been revealed that Laundrie wasn’t taking care of himself and experts have reported that he showed telltale signs of a domestic abuser.

Laundrie remains a person of interest in Petito’s murder while no other suspects or people of interest have been named.

The search for the missing boyfriend enters its second week now with a warrant for his arrest for “Use of Unauthorized Access Devices,” aggregating $1,000 dollars worth of items from Petito’s accounts.

RELATED: Sleuths Link Keys Found Near Utah Couple’s Bodies To Brian Laundrie Who Flew Home Days After Their Deaths

Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and politics.