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Newly-released video shows Gabby Petito in hours before murder

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Posted at 5:44 AM, Oct 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 05:44:36-04

Surveillance video from a Wyoming Whole Foods store shows Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie browsing the grocery shelves on Aug. 27, 2021 – the day she was last seen in public alive.

The video, obtained by Fox News Digital, shows Petito’s distinctive white Ford Transit van pulling into the parking lot around 2:11 p.m. – shortly after the couple left the Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant in town following a public argument between Laundrie and three female restaurant staffers. A seemingly irate Laundrie left and returned to the restaurant four times before Petito apologized, witnesses told Fox News Digital last summer. The restaurant separately acknowledged the couple ate there on that day.

Shortly after leaving the eatery, the couple can be seen on video pulling into the grocery store parking lot.

They sit in the car for another minute, then Laundrie gets out of the driver's side, slamming the door before approaching the rear of the vehicle. He grabs a hat from the back compartment, then Petito steps into view from around the passenger's side.

The two approach the store together, Petito with her arms crossed in front of herself, and Laundrie with his hands in his pockets, his face hidden under the brim of his hat and behind sunglasses.

Interior cameras from several angles show them making their way through the store for about 15 minutes. There is no audio. At one point, Petito can be seen selecting some cheese from a display near the coffee bar and placing it into a tote bag.

They leave out a different doorway from the one they arrived in.

They cut through the parking lot back to the van, where they sit for another 20 minutes before pulling out onto Highway 89 – the road leading to the Bridger-Teton National Forest campsite where Petito’s remains would be found 30-miles north roughly three weeks later.

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Gabby Petito's van seen leaving the Jackson, Wyoming, Whole Foods on Aug. 27, 2021. 

Then-Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue ruled Petito’s death to be a homicide by manual strangulation and placed a window of death three to four weeks before her remains were discovered on Sept. 19. A civil lawsuit filed by her parents earlier this year alleges that Laundrie killed her on the evening of Aug. 27. And several experts, including criminal profiler John Kelly and former FBI behaviorial forensics expert Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess, have proposed that the restaurant spat set off Laundrie's temper, ultimately leading to Petito's death.

Jackson police told Fox News Digital Monday that they recovered the surveillance video after Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11.

"The attempt to locate was the first thing we'd ever heard about Gabby Petito," Jackson Police Lt. Russ Ruschill said. Investigators then poured through hours of video in an effort to retrace her steps.

"The attempt to locate was the first thing we'd ever heard about Gabby Petito," Jackson Police Lt. Russ Ruschill said. Investigators then poured through hours of video in an effort to retrace her steps.

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Petito and Laudrie peruse a dairy aisle.

On Oct. 20, 2021, investigators discovered Laundrie’s remains in a swampy environmental park nearby. In a drybag also recovered at the scene, the FBI said Laundrie confessed to Petito’s murder in writing.

"I ended her life," reads the handwritten note, first obtained by Fox News Digital. "I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock."

He framed it as a mercy killing, writing that she injured herself in a fall near the campsite. He also wrote: "From the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn't go on without her."

Fox News Digital tailed Laundrie’s parents to the park on the morning his remains were recovered. They met a North Port detective and a member of the FBI and set off into the swamp for a look at where they believed their son had disappeared to weeks earlier. Extensive searches had been hindered by floodwaters until that point.

Christopher Laundrie stumbled across the drybag at the scene, and the investigators separately recovered Laundrie’s skeletal remains nearby. The FBI later said he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and said a revolver had also been recovered at the scene.

When he left his parents’ house on Sept. 13, despite having been placed under surveillance by local police, he took his mother’s Ford Mustang to the park and brought the pistol.

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Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito exit the Jackson, Wyoming, Whole Foods store on Aug. 27. 2021. 

Fox News' Laura Ingle, Sarah Rumpf and Matteo Cina contributed to this report.