The family of influencer Gabby Petito, killed in 2021 by fiancé Brian Laundrie, plans to sue the police in the city of Moab, Utah (USA), for manslaughter. Family members allege that officers failed to properly investigate an incident involving Petito and Laundrie as domestic violence in the month before his death.
According to NBC News, the lawsuit was announced today as attorneys for Gabby’s family filed a statement of intent, action necessary before filing a lawsuit against government agencies in the country. The document lists the City of Moab Police Department, then-Chief Bret Edge, former Assistant Chief Braydon Palmer and Officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins as defendants.
In August 2021, Moab Police were called to a potential domestic violence incident involving Petito and Brian Laundrie. Images from the body camera of a police officer were released and, in them, Petito appears crying and complaining about mental health to the agents. According to her, the couple had been arguing more often and she allegedly slapped Laundrie during an argument.
At the time, the couple decided not to file a complaint and police recommended that they spend the night apart. The groom went to a hotel while she slept in the van. The audios were released by Fox News.
Weeks after Petito’s remains were found, a longer version of the video was released. In it, the police officer questions the influencer about bruises on her arms and face and asks if Laundrie assaulted her. The young woman said Laundrie hurt her when he held her by the face, but blamed herself for starting the argument and hitting him first.
Following the backlash of the video, the Moab Police Department launched an investigation into the case, which concluded in January. According to the institution, officers misclassified the incident and did not sufficiently investigate the situation between Petito and Laundrie. An agent described the situation as an “emotional crisis” in the case records.
The family’s legal team claims that if the police had been properly trained, they would have known that Gabby was a victim of domestic violence. At a press conference held today, a lawyer for Petito’s family, James McConkie, stated that “Gabby’s parents are bringing this lawsuit to honor their daughter’s legacy by saving the lives of victims of domestic violence in the United States and around the world. They hope their efforts to help will save lives and give some meaning to the senseless, tragic and preventable murder of their daughter.”
understand the case
Gabby and Brian traveled across the United States together in a van, but he returned home alone on September 1st of last year. On September 11, the young man recorded the disappearance of his bride.
In the same month, on the 19th, the influencer’s body was found in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, USA. According to doctors, she had been dead for about four weeks before she was found. The initial autopsy reported that Gabby was strangled.
With that, the groom became the main suspect for the young woman’s death. However, during investigations, he disappeared. At the time, Brian’s parents did not comment much on the investigation and only stated that their son had gone for a walk on September 14, but did not return home.
Following the young man’s disappearance, Brian’s remains were discovered in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on October 20. After investigations, the police concluded that he committed suicide with a gunshot and the body was eaten by crocodiles.
The FBI also concluded that the influencer was murdered by her fiance. In a statement posted on the official website, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation indicated that no other individuals involved in the case were identified.
Gabby Petito’s parents had already filed a lawsuit against Brian’s parents. The two claim that the couple knew that their son murdered the young woman and even helped to plan an escape from the country.