Gabby Petito’s family has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Moab City police department for handling its meeting with the pair improperly. The lawsuit was filed close to a year after the police first saw Gabby Petito and her then-fiancé Brian Laundrie in the days before her death.
On August 12, 2021, when they responded to a call regarding a violent altercation between the couple while on their cross-country road trip, Moab City PD officers first encountered Petito and Laundrie by the side of the road. Authorities released them after a dialogue that was infamously captured on police body camera film.
Since Petito’s abduction and death, the cops’ choice to not investigate the situation as potentially being a case of domestic abuse has drawn heavy criticism. Brian Steward, the family’s attorney, asserts in the lawsuit that the Moab City police “failed in their obligation to protect Gabby” and that the 22-year-old would still be alive if they had had enough training in dealing with domestic violence situations.
‘Due to lack of training and access to critical domestic violence resources, the officers failed to properly investigate the reported domestic assault and, thus failed to fully appreciate or respond to Gabby’s life-threatening situation,’ said Steward in a news release.
While the two were traveling the country later in August, Petito disappeared. Her remains were found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest on September 19, 2021. Laundrie had disappeared two days earlier after returning to Florida. In October 2021, his skeletal remains were discovered in a Florida park. His family learned that he had shot himself to death in November 2021. According to the FBI, Laundries’ notebook, in which he admitted to murdering Petito, was found nearby.