Police in Moab, Utah, had the opportunity to save the life of Gabby Petito but failed to. That is according to her family and their lawyers.
And now, they are seeking $50 million in damages.
“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 needed immediate protection,” Brian Stewart, a lawyer for the family, said in a statement.
Petito’s death followed a domestic dispute with fiancé Brian Laundrie in August 2021. Her body was discovered in Wyoming in September 2021. An autopsy revealed she was killed by manual strangulation. Laundrie’s body was discovered a few months later, with authorities ruling he died by suicide.
An independent investigation went into the police department’s handling of the case. It concluded that the officers made several mistakes. It also detailed that it could not rule out that Gabby’s murder might have been prevented if the officers had handled the situation properly. Both statements are according to a court fling.
Also, TMZ obtained documents that indicate Petito’s family faulted the Moab Police Department. It specifically called a failure to “adequately respond to reports and evidence of domestic violence between Brian and Gabby.”
According to Fox News, “The Moab Police Department drew scrutiny after a pair of bodycam videos, from Officers Pratt and Robbins, emerged showing its response to the Petito-Laundrie dispute, in which police made no arrests or citations despite a Utah statute requiring one to be issued in domestic violence incidents. After interviewing both Petito and Laundrie, as well as another witness, officers ruled out domestic violence and deemed the incident a ‘mental health break.'”
Who is handling this legally?
The families have hired the Parker and McConkie law firm. The firm is located in Salt Lake City, about 235 miles from Moab.
“The purpose of this lawsuit is just one part of the family’s broader effort to raise awareness and education; to protect victims of domestic violence and to help make sure that our governmental institutions are held to account. That they are given the resources and training that they need to do their jobs,” Stewart said.