MOAB, Utah – The family of Gabby Petito is planning to file a $50 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department.
“While the full evidence has not yet been made public, when it is released, it will clearly show that if the officers had been properly trained and followed the law, Gabby would be alive today,” said attorney James McConkie.
Gabby Petito had a previous encounter with the Moab Police Department in Utah in regards to domestic violence incident involving Brian Laundrie.
On August 12th, 2021 Gabby and her fiance Brian had visited Moab, Utah living as aspiring travel influencers and documenting their trip on social media while living in the van. A witness has called 911 after witnessing Laundrie slapping Gabby, while chasing her up and down the sidewalk, before both would get into their van and drive away.
Officers would catch up with them and conduct separate interviews with Laundrie and Petito.
Gabby had told officers that Laundrie had grabbed her face and left a burning gash on her cheek. She also said that he had grabbed her arms after officers noticed marks on her skin.
Photos revealed from Petito’s encounter with police show blood smeared on her cheek and left eye, reveling a violent interaction with Laundrie. The photo’s detail Petito face being grabbed across her nose and mouth, possible restricting her airway.
While talking to Officers, Brian Laundie claimed Gabby was trying to leave him in Moab without a cell phone and that she attempted to slap him first. Officers then determined that Gabby was the primary aggressor and that Brian was a potential victim of domestic abuse.
The responding officer said that he didn’t entirely believe Gabby and decided to prepare a crime report. He decided not to impose charges at the time, but to allow the city attorney to screen the report and decide whether to press charges.
“Had the officers involved had training to implement proper lethality assessment and to recognize the obvious indicators of abuse, it would have been clear to them that Gabby was a victim of intimate partner violence and need immediate protection,” said Brian Stewart, a lawyer for the Petito family.
Two weeks later, Laundrie would murder Petito, leaving her body in the woods of Grand Teton National forest before taking his own life.
I think Gabby’s story has touch a lot of people and she’s saving lives,” said Gabby’s mother Nichole. “I get people messaging me all the time that they were inspired by her to get out of a relationship.”