Attorneys representing the family of Gabby Petito, 22, who was murdered in late August 2021, have released photos of Gabby, showing bruises and blood on her face, that were taken when Utah Police Offers stopped the vehicle she was in on Aug. 12, 2021, just weeks before her death.
Utah law enforcement stopped the vehicle after a witness reported seeing a man — later identified as her ex-fiancé Brian Laundrie — hitting Petito and attempting to take her phone. The report adds that Laundrie seemed intent on driving off without Petito, leaving her outside the Moonflower Co-op in Moab.
Petito eventually reentered the vehicle. A timestamp for a photo on her phone coincides with when the police department received a 911 call. The Petito family attorney noted in a Tuesday statement: “According to available data, the image was taken at 4:37 p.m., at or before the approximate time of the initial 911 call.”
Attorneys assert that during the stop, officers should have detained Laundrie on assault charges.
The suspected domestic violence stop occurred just weeks before her suspected murder at the hands of Laundrie.
Laundrie and Petito were reportedly on a cross-country drive travel blogging their experiences.
The law firm of Parker & McConkie is using the photo of Petito to bolster their wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department. They maintain that by detaining Laundrie in August, the chain of events that led to Petito’s death in November would not have occurred.
Police report pulling over the vehicle within 15 minutes of the call and interviewing the couple for approximately one hour.
The lawsuit alleges that Petito showed the photo of her face during the stop to Officer Eric Pratt, who ignored the warning signs and “did nothing more to investigate or document the injury.”
A statement from the Petito family attorney reads:
“The photo demonstrates the cut previously noted on her left cheek as well as blood smeared from her forehead, across her left eye and cheek and over her nose, indicating that she was grabbed over her face in such a way that her airways were likely obstructed.”
The statement continued: “Gabby documented the injury and, during the stop, attempted to tell the Moab officers, however, the seriousness and significance of this type of assault and injury was completely ignored.”
An initial review found that Officers Pratt and Daniel Robbins made “unintentional mistakes” in the Aug. 12, 2021, stop.
The suit notes that though officers “split the couple up for the night,” they were wrong not to press charges as required by a Utah statute.
The lawsuit also alleges that Moab Police Officers wrongly labeled Petito the “predominant aggressor” in the altercation outside Moonflower, which Petito family attorneys strongly deny.
The filing against the Moab Police Dept. notes:
“Moab Police failed to recognize the violent grabbing of Gabby’s face and obstruction of her nose, mouth, and airways as a critical precursor to her eventual death by strangulation that occurred a short time later.”
The complaint continues: “Moab Police failed to listen to Gabby, failed to investigate her injuries and the seriousness of her assault, and failed to follow their own training, policies, and Utah law.”
Authorities now believe that by Aug. 28, Petito was strangled and beaten to death by Laundrie in Wyoming. Her remains were discovered on Sept. 18.
Laundrie returned to his parents’ Florida home on Sept. 1, driving Petito’s van. But when he was named a primary suspect, he fled and committed suicide. His body was later found in a swamp on Oct. 20. A suicide note noting his confession to Petito’s death was found in a bag near his body.
Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito, and Nichole Schmidt, are also suing Laundrie’s parents in connection with events surrounding Gabby’s death.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.