Attorneys for Gabby Petito’s family have made a photo of her with blood on her face from a domestic violence stop in Utah just weeks before she was allegedly killed by her ex-fiance, Brian Laundrie, available for the first time.
The Moab City Police Department came into contact with the travel-blogging couple on August 12, 2021, after a witness reported seeing Laundrie hitting Petito and attempting to steal her phone and drive off without her outside the Moonflower Co-op, an organic grocery store off the city’s main drag.
Parker & McConkie first mentioned the existence of the photo in a November 2022 wrongful death lawsuit against the department. According to the law firm, the picture was shot by Petito herself just before the stop and was found on her phone.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the family’s attorneys claimed that “According to available data, the image was taken at 4:37 p.m., at or before the approximate time of the initial 911 call,”
A witness reported an alleged domestic violence incident at roughly 4:30 p.m. on the day of the incident, as Fox News Digital was the first to report.
About 15 minutes later, according to bodycam video from Moab police, they come to a stop at the Arches National Park entrance. The couple was questioned by officials for about an hour.
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“Gabby took a photograph of her injury, which shows blood across her nose and left eye.” the civil complaint says.
She allegedly revealed the injuries to Moab Police Officer Eric Pratt, who, according to the family’s attorneys, “did nothing more to investigate or document the injury.”
The city of Moab does not comment on legal issues, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
“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 Petito-Schmidt attorneys’ statement, posted to the Parker & McConkie website, continues.
“Gabby documented the injury and, during the stop, attempted to tell the Moab officers, however, the seriousness and significance this type of assault and injury was completely ignored.”
Pratt and fellow Moab Officer Daniel Robbins were determined to have made “unintentional mistakes” in the stop on August 12, 2021, as a result of the outside investigation that was sparked by the Moab police response.
Despite a Utah provision that, according to the Petitos’ attorneys, obliged the police to make an arrest or issue a citation, they split the couple up for the night and chose not to press charges.
The lawsuit also claims that Petito was not the “predominant aggressor” in the altercation outside Moonflower, as claimed by the police, which is refuted by the image, according to the counsel for her parents.
“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,” they said. “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.”
The body of Petito, whose remains were discovered on September 18, is thought to have been bludgeoned and strangled by Laundrie by August 28 in Wyoming. On September 1, Laundrie drove Petito’s van back to his parent’s house in Florida.
He was discovered dead in a swamp on October 20 by the local police and FBI after self-inflicting a headshot wound. A handwritten admission to Petito’s murder was located in a dry bag close by.
Laundrie’s parents as well as Moab police are being sued by Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, in relation to the sequence of incidents that resulted in and followed her death.
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