SALT LAKE CITY — An investigation has found that Utah police made “several unintentional mistakes” when they stopped Gabby Petito and her boyfriend before being killed in a high-profile missing persons case.
An independent report released on Wednesday investigated a police interception in the tourist town of Moab on August 12. Officers investigate a fight between Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundry, but ultimately determine that Pettito was the attacker. He allowed the couple to leave after needing to spend a night apart.
Body camera video of 22-year-old Petito was widely viewed as the investigation unfolded and raised questions about whether a more robust police response could have prevented his death.
“Would Gabby be alive today if this case had been handled differently? It’s an impossible question to answer, while the answer is longed for by many. As Fox13 reports, Captain Brandon Ratcliffe of the Price Police Department of Utah said Wrote, “No one knows and no one will ever know the answer to that question.”
Officers stopped the couple during a cross-country trip that began in Long Island, New York, after their van was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. Laundry, 23, said in the video that the couple had a minor scuffle, which started when they climbed into the van with dirty feet. Pettito misconstrues his desire to keep the van clean.
She was reported missing a month after a traffic stop, and her strangled body was discovered on September 19 on the edge of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Laundry was the only person identified by law enforcement officials as an interested person in the case. After returning alone to his parents’ home in Florida, he was found shot and wounded in a swamp.
While Utah law stipulates that police will cite or arrest attackers in domestic violence attacks, Petito is instead cited by two Moab officers who found that the incident was more than a mental or emotional health break.
An official who argued against citing him said laundry could get him out of jail and then have “more control over him.”
The city of Moab praised the authorities, saying they “showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of the incident.”
The 102-page report, however, blamed officers for not citing Petito for domestic violence and for not receiving a statement from a 911 caller who reported seeing a male assailant.
It recommended better training, particularly in domestic violence investigations, and that officers involved be placed on probation or the existing probation extended.
As KSL.com reports, Ratcliffe wrote that although Petito may have been the main attacker in this specific fight, that doesn’t mean she was the main attacker in the relationship.
Ratcliffe wrote, “There have been times in my career where someone we know from past experience who has been a victim of domestic violence for a long time, commits an act of domestic violence against their longtime abuser,” Ratcliffe wrote. gets arrested for.” “It is very likely that Gabby was a long-term victim of domestic violence, be it physically, mentally and/or emotionally.”