Gabby Petito's family filed another lawsuit, this time against #MoabPolice for failing to protect their daughter.
Gabby Petito became a household name after going on a road trip with her violent fiancé where she went missing in 2021. Petito was 22 when she was reported missing in September 2021. Brian Laundrie, her fiancé, and Gabby were both questioned by Moab police after the couple was reported to be having a domestic dispute along the trip. Police separated the two for the night but never followed up. Gabby's family believes there was more they could've done, in order to save her life. Just weeks later she was dead, at the hands of Laundrie. It was all confessed in a journal recently released by The Laundrie Family. She was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19, 2021.
Now the Petito Family is asking for $50 million from the Moab Police Department for negligence and wrongful death.
The suit will center on a police encounter with Petito and Laundrie, who both refused to press charges and downplayed their toxicity. The body camera video from Aug. 12, 2021in Moab, shows Petito taking most of the blame for the argument they got in, but police didn't find evidence of abuse. An independent review done in January2022, said police made several mistakes and even wrongly classified the incident as a mental/emotional health “break” rather than domestic violence. They also didn't fully detail the encounter in reports, as is required. A scratch on her cheek was not looked into in depth by officers.
The Petito Lawyers claim that officers missed key detail that should've identified that Gabby need “immediate protection," and "was a victim of intimate partner violence”. Also, in the filing is a photo not made public yet that shows blood on Gabby's cheek and that "Gabby’s face was grabbed across her nose and mouth, potentially restricting her airway.”
The lawsuit specifically calls out officer Eric Pratt, an alleged domestic abuser, for being "fundamentally biased" against Petito as he questioned the couple.
"Gabby did not have to die," the lawsuit says. "Gabby would still be alive if Officer Pratt had not intentionally coached Gabby and manipulated the investigation to try to find loopholes that would allow him to disregard the mandates of Utah law and his duty to protect Gabby. Defendants' negligence deprived Gabby of her safety and ultimately her life."
It's such a sad and tragic story all the way around. Unfortunately, it's all too common in society that women are subject to this type of behavior in relationships. Many don't get the proper help or protection because of how hard it is to identify, unless you are trained to watch for the signs.
Here is the full Moab Police Body cam encounter: