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Attorney Brian Stewart, who represents Gabby Petito’s parents, has released a previously unseen photo of the travel blogger with bruises on her face moments before her and Brian Laundrie’s encounter with Utah police. The new picture comes as her parents continue to build a case against the Moab Police Department for failing to protect their late daughter.
The photo was taken by Gabby on her cell phone on August 12, 2021, at 4:37 p.m. – around the same time the Moab Police Department received a 911 call from a concerned citizen about an alleged domestic violence incident involving the former couple. The image shows the Long Island native with what appears to be blood across her face and bruises around her eye. She is also wearing the same outfit she was seen in while being interviewed by Moab Police for nearly an hour that day after they were pulled over near Arches National Park.
According to a statement given to In Touch by Stewart on Tuesday, February 7, Moab Police “failed to listen to Gabby” and “failed to investigate her injuries and the seriousness of her assault.”
A November 2022 complaint posted on law firm Parker & McConkie’s website on Monday, February 6, further alleges that despite the documentation of her injuries and her “attempt to tell the Moab officers,” the “seriousness and significance of this type of assault and injury was completely ignored.”
Citing domestic violence experts, the Petito family’s attorney claims that the new photo of her injuries indicate that “Gabby was most likely strangled and/or suffocated by Brian before the police arrived on August 12, 2021,” and that the Moab Police Department failed to recognize the “violent grabbing” of Gabby’s face as a “critical precursor to her eventual death by strangulation that occurred a short time later.”
The law firm also notes that “domestic violence research shows that if a victim of intimate partner violence is strangled or suffocated even one time, she is 750% more likely to be killed by that person,” and that the never-before-seen photo of Gabby’s injuries show that the Moab Police Department also “failed to follow their own training, policies and Utah law” to protect her from her alleged abuser.
The disappearance of Gabby gripped the country after Brian returned to his parents’ North Port, Florida, home from their cross-country road trip without her, but with her 2012 Ford Transit van. She was reported missing by her family on September 1, 2021.
Brian, who became a person of interest on September 15, was reported missing by his parents on September 17 – three days after the Laundrie family told police when they had allegedly last seen him, though the timeline of his disappearance changed throughout the investigation.
A body matching the description of Gabby was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on September 19, and two days later, the FBI released a statement saying that the body investigated by Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue was “confirmed” to be Gabby.
After a nearly month-long nationwide manhunt, Brian’s remains were found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on October 20, along with a drybag containing his belongings, including a journal in which he confessed to murdering Gabby. The FBI confirmed the remains belonged to Brian through dental records the following day. It was also determined that Brian died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The Moab Police Department – who directed In Touch to the City of Moab – declined to comment on the active case.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).