Attorneys for Gabby Petito’s family have released a photo allegedly taken just moments before Utah cops pulled Petito and Brian Laundrie over in a fateful domestic violence call that ended with Laundrie being let go.
The disturbing selfie, part of a wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department, shows Petito visibly bruised with red marks across her face. The photo was taken on Aug. 12, 2021 at 4:37 p.m.—16 minutes before body-cam footage captured an interaction between Moab police and the young couple, according to Petito’s family.
Petito and Laundrie, who were on a cross-country road trip in a converted camper van, were pulled over after two separate witnesses reported seeing concerning behavior between the couple. However, after interviewing them separately, Officers Daniel Robbins and Eric Pratt determined that Petito was the primary aggressor and simply ordered the couple to spend a night apart.
Two weeks later, Laundrie killed Petito, drove their van back home to Florida, then eventually killed himself and left a self-pitying suicide note.
In their lawsuit, Petito’s family claim she was in visible distress and police had a duty to step in, but failed to do their job to protect her.
“Gabby took a photograph of her injury, which shows blood across her nose and left eye. Gabby pointed out the injury to Officer Pratt, but he ignored her and did nothing more to investigate or document the injury,” the family’s lawyers allege in the suit.
The photo shows that Petito was “not the predominant aggressor” when Laundrie assaulted her, and had likely been strangled or suffocated by him before police showed up, according to a statement from Parker & McConkie, the law firm representing the Petito family.
Further, the family alleges officers never questioned Laundrie about “inconsistencies” in his story, and didn’t properly interpret the state’s assault laws.
“The Petito family is heartbroken to see how Moab police officers failed to recognize the danger Gabby was in, they remain committed to making sure legislators and law enforcement will have the necessary training and resources to identify and prevent similar tragedies in the future,” the lawsuit says.
Petito’s family was awarded $3 million from the estate of Laundrie last November, reportedly donating the funds to the Gabby Petito Foundation. They are seeking $50 million in damages from the police department.
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