Last month, a National Parks Service law enforcement ranger who responded to a domestic altercation in Utah between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito advised the lady that her relationship with Laundrie appeared to be "toxic."
Melissa Hulls, the visitor and resource protection supervisor at Arches National Park, told the Deseret News in an interview about her meeting with Petito on Aug. 12: “I was probably more candid with her than I should've been.”
Petito, 22, was sobbing in the back of a police car when Hulls arrived that day, and the ranger approached her, thinking the Long Island native would be more comfortable conversing with a woman through the stressful situation.
Hull told the newspaper, "I was imploring her to reevaluate the relationship, asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying this was an opportunity for her to find another path, to make a change in her life."
According to new audio obtained from the Grand County Sheriff's Office, police arrived at the scene after a 911 caller reported witnessing a man "slapping" a woman in the face.
The recording contradicts a police report that said Petito was the aggressor, claiming she "began slapping" him after he instructed her to go for a stroll to cool down.
“It was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female,” an officer wrote, but it was later discovered that “no one reported the male struck the female.”
The authorities described the episode as a "mental/emotional health break," and no charges were filed that day.
After that, the pair are said to have agreed to spend the night apart.
“No one was having a good day today. When we left them, we thought we were making the correct decision,” Hulls said in the interview.
“I wouldn't call (the relationship) dangerous. We would have separated them if we had any cause to believe one of them was in danger,” she said.
The Moab City Police Department has released bodycam footage from the incident.
Hulls was also wearing a body camera, although she stated that she had not reviewed the film.
“It's difficult not to second-guess myself and wish I had said more, or found the right words to convince her that she deserved more,” Hulls said.
Petito's family reported her missing on Sept. 11 after Laundrie, 23, returned to his Florida home ten days earlier without her.
ON SUNDAY, the FBI announced that remains "consistent with the description" of Petito were discovered in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest.