A man who witnessed a domestic incident between van-life couple Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie claimed she was asking him 'why do you have to be so mean?' and that he may have been trying to leave without her.
The witness, who only went by the name Christopher, said he watched them argue over a phone in a statement filed on August 12 and added that 'something didn't seem right.'
Petito, 22, was found dead on Sunday, and on Tuesday a coroner confirmed her death was a homicide.
She had set out to travel with Laundrie in July, and the couple were journeying in their white Ford Transit van across the West - but were seen arguing in mid August.
Petito was last seen alive on August 24, and was reported missing on September 11. Laundrie returned home alone to Florida on September 1, and went missing on September 14. A manhunt is underway, with him being deemed officially a 'person of interest'.
Laundrie and Petito are seen in a photo dated July 29. The pair met at high school on Long Island, New York, and begun dating several years ago
A man who witnessed a domestic incident between van-life couple Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie said they were fighting over a phone and that he may have been trying to leave her
'I heard her say, 'Why do you have to be so mean?' the witness wrote, adding that 'something didn't seem write'
The witness statement suggested that things had become tense between Petito and Laundrie.
'They were talking aggressively [at] each other [and] something definitely seemed off,' the witness, identified only as Christopher in a statement obtained by Fox News, wrote. 'At one point, they were sort of fighting over a phone – I think the male took the female's phone. It appeared that he didn't want her in the white van.'
The man, who is believed to be Laundrie, then moved into the driver's seat with the woman, believed to be Petito, following him just outside the Moonflower co-op, a grocery store in Moab, utah.
'I heard her say, 'Why do you have to be so mean?' the witness wrote.
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito had been traveling since early July. Petito was reported missing on September 11, and on September 16 a fellow 'van life' traveler told the FBI she believed she had spotted Laundrie
He went on to write that at one point he saw Petito allegedly punch Laundrie in the arm and try to get inside the vehicle.
'From my point of view, something definitely didn't seem right,' he added. 'It was as if the guy was trying to leave her, and maybe take her phone? Not sure but wanted to help out.'
This comes as more people are speaking out and police recordings are being released from people who believed they came into contact with Petito and Laundrie.
A graphic designer who has spent the past four years living in her Airstream said that she she believes she led the FBI to Petito's body, after agents told her: 'you guys are the ones that really tipped us off to the right place'.
Jessica Schultz told law enforcement that she spotted Laundrie near the Spread Creek campsite in Wyoming on August 26, 27 and possibly 28.
'So I saw Brian Laundrie parking his van August 26 at Spread Creek.
'So I had already reported to the FBI what I had seen.
'And I wasn't 100 per cent sure, but now that there is dashcam footage of the van where I saw it, I'm 100 per cent certain that I did see him parking his van.
'And he was very kind of awkward and confused. And it was just him. There was no Gabby.
'But that's only because, as a van lifer, I was checking out their van and I was checking out to see if it was a couple or a solo dude.
'So it was a solo dude, as far as I could see. Unless she was in the back somewhere. But when I pulled up he was driving still and hadn't yet pulled over.
'So I was like, hey, what are you going to do? Are you going to let me pass because it's only one car width of a road.
'And he kind of pulled over like half way, and made me drive half out into the road to go around him.
'So I thought it was just really weird. And for a timeline, it was parked on the 26th, I believe.'
'Sorry my last video cut off. I guess I only get 60 seconds.
'It's probably a good thing as the FBI actually called me back. Not as a result of my TikTok.
'So a group of friends and I were camping at Spread Creek from the 22nd to the 29th.
'And in that time frame we all independently noticed that van parked there. And I noticed it particularly because I had seen that van trying to park. And also because it wasn't actually parked in a designated spot.
'The Spread Creek camping area is a series of designated spots and you're not supposed to camp outside those spots.
'This van was not in a real spot so I figured that he would get booted by the people who patrol the area. But the van was there for several days and nights and it did not get booted. The weirdest part was that there was no indication that there was anybody at the van.
'Usually small van people have their doors open, they're outside, they have a hammock, something. But we didn't see any signs of actual life at the van.'
Schultz, 38, said that the publicity surrounding the missing New Yorker encouraged her to come forward, and she spoke to the FBI on September 16.
She said in a TikTok that she and a group of friends were camped at Spread Creek from August 22 to 29.
'In that time frame, we all independently noticed that van,' she said.
Schultz said that she noticed the van because it was trying to park, and blocking her way. She very clearly recalled seeing a man alone - who she now believes was Laundrie.
She said she was '100 per cent certain' that it was him.
'He was very... kind of awkward and confused,' she said on TikTok.
'It was just him, there was no Gabby.'
Schultz approached the van to see if the man wanted to join their group, but saw that he was much younger than them so decided against extending the invite.
'He was just acting weird,' she told The San Francisco Chronicle.
'You know, when you're out in the middle of nowhere, your hackles go up when you see something that's out of the ordinary.'
She added: 'I'm pretty sure he got out of the van to like look around or something.
'There's definitely nobody in that passenger seat; like he definitely doesn't have a girl in there.'
On August 27, Schultz saw the van again.
This time, she was traveling as a passenger in her friend's vehicle, and noticed that the van belonging to Petito and used by her and Laundrie was in the same area.
'I was like, 'Oh, that guy stayed the night,' Schultz recalled telling her friend.
She remembered it clearly, she said, because it was not a designated parking spot.
Schultz also believes she saw the van on August 28, because she recalled thinking it was surprising the owners had not been asked to move on to an actual parking place.
'The weirdest part of it was that there was no indication there was anybody at the van,' Schultz recounted on TikTok.
When footage of the missing couple began circulating, Schultz noticed the distinctive hat that was on the dashboard - which she had seen.
'My friend texted me a picture of the hat on the dashboard and I just lost my s***,' Schultz said.
'And that's when I called the FBI and said, 'Guys, look at Spread Creek.'
Lupe Alvarez, a friend of Schultz's who was camping at the site, said he and his partner first saw teams of police crews looking for Petito arrive on Friday evening.
On Saturday a forest ranger approached them as they were about to set off on a hike and asked them not to destroy any evidence.
'She told us, 'You've probably heard about the missing girl and the van,' Alvarez said.
Schultz said someone with the FBI called her and her friends back for an interview just before 10am on Sunday - before it was announced that Petito's remains had been found.
Schultz recalled that the FBI agent said: 'I've talked to hundreds of people, but you guys are the ones that really tipped us off to the right place, so thank you.'
A memorial of stones arranged in a cross pattern was spotted Monday evening at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite east of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
The memorial is placed near to where authorities found Gabby Petito's body on Sunday
She added: 'We're triumphant — we were right and we led them in the right direction.
'But then, of course, it's not something you like to be right about. It's been emotionally exhausting for sure.'
A huge manhunt was launched on September 11 to find the missing woman, and police said that they eventually received more than 1,000 tips.
As of Tuesday, the hashtag #GabbyPetito has received more than 650 million views on the social media platform TikTok, according to the Associated Press.
Petito and Laundrie are seen at Monument Rocks in Utah in a post dated July 4
Petito and Laundrie had cultivated a following on social media as the traversed the West in their van, and fellow social media users jumped into the hunt for clues.
The van was spotted in footage made by YouTubers, a TikTok user said that she had given an 'antsy' Laundrie a lift when he was hitchhiking on August 29, and an Idaho woman who owns a shop in the town of Victor said that she had seen the pair around that time.
On Tuesday, a coroner in Wyoming has confirmed that a body found on Sunday is that of Petito, and that her death was a homicide.
Petito's case was added to the 'seeking information' site on Tuesday, with her described as 'homicide victim'
On Tuesday night TMZ reported that Laundrie is viewed by prosecutors as the prime suspect, but they are waiting to see if he is found alive, and if there is evidence that he killed her.
The search for Laundrie in the swampy 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve has ended for the night, police in Florida said on Tuesday evening - adding that they will resume on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the FBI in Denver tweeted: 'Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999.
A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car. Laundrie admits he 'pushed her' during the altercation and cops determine Petito was 'the primary aggressor'
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito 'was trying to get the keys from me' and 'hit me with her phone'
'Coroner Blue's initial determination for the manner of death is homicide.
'The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.'
The FBI on Tuesday said that a forensic search of the camping area where her body was found had ended, and appealed for anyone who was in the area from August 27 to August 30 to contact them.
'We extend sincere condolences to Gabby’s family, friends, and all the people whose lives she touched,' the FBI said in a statement.
They also added her to their 'seeking information' site, describing her as a 'homicide victim'.
Petito's case was being referred to as a criminal investigation for the first time on Tuesday.
'This is an FBI-led criminal investigation and North Port Police are assisting our federal partner in any way we can to bring this investigation to a close,' said Josh Taylor, a spokesperson for Florida's North Port Police Department, in a statement.
Laundrie's family said on Tuesday evening, through their lawyer: 'May Gabby Rest In Peace.'
Laundrie and Petito set off on their dream road trip from New York on July 2
The pair had been traveling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11