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Gabby Petito’s Family Files $50 Million Wrongful Death Claim Against Utah Police Department

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970


The family of Gabby Petito, a vlogger who was killed by her boyfriend Brian Laundrie last year, said they intend to sue a Utah police department for $50 million for wrongful death, claiming that if officers better handled a domestic incident between the couple in the weeks before her death, “Gabby would still be alive today.”

Key Facts

The Moab City Police Department “failed in their duty to protect Gabby” when investigating an August 12, 2021 altercation between Petito and Laundrie, the family alleges in a notice of claim sent to the state Monday, according to CBS News.

Though body camera footage of the incident was released, lawyers for the family said there is an unreleased photo showing “a close-up view of Gabby’s face where blood is smeared on her cheek and left eye, revealing the violent nature of Brian’s attack,” according to Insider.

Officers failed to see Petito, 22, had “the classic hallmarks of an abused partner,” did not question Laundrie’s inconsistent story and had found Petito, not Laundrie, to be the “primary aggressor,” the suit says.

An independent review of the incident released in January found the responding officers made “several unintentional mistakes that stemmed from the fact that officers failed to cite Ms. Petito for domestic violence,” as she admitted to slapping Laundrie—though the report also says Laundrie grabbed Petito’s face.

The Moab City Police Department has 60 days to respond to the notice before the family can proceed with a lawsuit, according to the Associated Press.

Lisa Church, who does communications for Moab City, told Forbes it “does not comment on pending litigation.”

Crucial Quote

“Failure to follow the law can have deadly consequences, as it did in this case,” James McConkie, one of the family’s lawyers, said in a statement announcing the suit.

Key Background

Petito and Laundrie were on a road trip out west when the altercation in Utah occurred in August. She was reported missing in September, when Laundrie had returned home to Florida without her. Her body was discovered near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming roughly a month after police met with the couple about the domestic abuse incident. Laundrie then went missing, and his body was discovered in October in a Florida nature reserve. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Medical examiners determined Petito died of strangulation three to four weeks before her body was discovered. In January, the FBI closed its investigation, and said they “did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito.” In a notebook discovered nearby where Laundrie’s body was found, he took responsibility for Petito’s death. Petito’s family sued the Laundries in March, saying he told his parents he killed Petito while she was missing.

Further Reading

FBI Says Brian Laundrie Claimed Responsibility For Gabby Petito’s Death (Forbes)

Gabby Petito’s Family Sues Brian Laundrie’s Parents, Alleging He Told Them He Killed Her A Day After (Forbes)


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