An independent investigator has said that a pair of Utah police officers should have been suspended for not citing Gabby Petito following a violent encounter with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie where she admitted she was the aggressor.
Officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins had pulled the couple over in Moab, Utah, on August 12, 2021, after they responded to a call from a witness who saw the couple involved in a domestic fight.
The Price City Police Department launched its own independent investigation and said Wednesday that the officers should have pressed charges in the incident.
‘I believe the officers responded to a domestic violence call and had probable cause an act of domestic violence had been committed,’ Price Police Capt. Brandon Ratcliffe.
‘This should have meant an arrest was made, either by citation or custody.’
Bodycam footage recorded the encounter between Petito and Laundrie after they were stopped at the Arches National Park while on their cross country road trip out West.
The footage captured a visibly shaken Petito who admitted to being the aggressor in the public argument.
During the conversation, Pratt had noted that Petito should have been arrested for her actions as stated in the Utah state law.
The couple, however, managed to dispute the allegations and the officers let them go following a 75-minute conversation on the promise that they spend the night away from one another.
On September 19, Gabby’s strangled body was found in Wyoming. Police say she had been dead for three or four weeks.
Laundrie’s remains were found in a Florida swamp on October 20, two months after he is believed to have killed Gabby.
An independent investigator revealed that Gabby Petito should have been cited for being the aggressor in a domestic dispute with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie (pictured left). Moab City PD Eric Pratt (right) is seen speaking with Laundrie
The cops who pulled Petito and Laundrie in Moab, Utah were also recommended for probation for not pressing charges in the incident
The couple was pulled over after a witness reported the couple had been involved in a violent dispute
Despite evidence pointing towards Petito as the aggressor, Ratcliffe noted that she had probably been the victim of violence in the relationship.
As a result of the investigation, Ratcliffe recommended that Pratt and Robbins be put on probation for how they handled the incident.
He also concluded that he couldn’t be certain that the officers could have changed the outcome of Petito’s fate if they acted accordingly.
‘Would Gabby be alive today if this case was handled differently?,’ the report said, according to CNN. That is an impossible question to answer despite it being the answer many people want to know.
‘Nobody knows and nobody will ever know the answer to that question.’
The city of Moab has not revealed any form of future disciplinary action for the officers but they intend to implement new measures such as legal and domestic violence training.
They noted, however, that the officers should have cited Petito made ‘several unintentional mistakes’ during the incident.
‘Based on the report’s findings, the City of Moab believes our officers showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident,’ a statement from the city read.
‘The City of Moab sends our sincere condolences to the Petito family. Our hearts go out to them as they continue to deal with the tragic loss of their daughter.’
According to the document, cops were called to a local business in Moab, Utah on August 12, after a witness reported seeing the couple ‘arguing over a phone’ outside their van (Petito and Laundrie pictured)
Laundrie with his fiancee, Gabby Petito, whose body was found in Wyoming on September 19
Petito seen here with Brian Laundrie, her boyfriend and the main suspect in her disappearance, whose own death was ruled a suicide after remains were discovered October 20
Since Petito’s death, Pratt has said that he has affected by the mistakes he made during the traffic stop.
‘I do care. I am devastated about it,’ he said. ‘I cared that day and I still care. I don’t think the public gets that we…I don’t know if they know we care. I don’t know if they know.’
The search for Petito began after Laundrie had returned to his parent’s Florida home from their trip without her on September 1.
On September 11, Gabby’s family reported her missing and two days later, her boyfriend Brian Laundrie vanished from his parents’ home.
The young couple had been on a cross-country van trip but it turned sour and in August, just a few weeks before she died.
Laundrie’s remains were found in a Florida swamp on October 20 two months after he is believed to have killed Gabby
Chris and Roberta Laundrie are shown arriving home in October after their son’s remains were found. They were widely criticized for not turning their son into police after Gabby was reported missing
Chris and Roberta Laundrie, Brian’s parents, have been widely condemned for not talking with Petito’s family or turning their son in to police when he returned home from his trip, especially after she was reported missing.
He left their home on September 13, two days after her family on Long Island, New York, reported her disappearance.
Petito’s family criticized the Laundries for not helping them.
Laundrie, 23, was reported to have died from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, his lawyer Steve Bertolino said on Tuesday. His remains were discovered in the Florida reserve near his parents’ house on October 20.
The 23-year-old went missing in September after returning alone from a trip with Petito, whose body was found in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
An initial autopsy was inconclusive but the Laundrie family lawyer, Steve Bertolino, said on Tuesday he had been told by the forensic anthropologist who took over that Laundrie died by a single gunshot wound to the head.
TIMELINE OF GABBY PETITO DISAPPEARANCE AND DEATH
July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip
August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple
Aug. 17: Laundrie allegedly flies back to Florida to ‘clear out a storage unit’
Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug. 23: Laundrie flies back to Utah to ‘rejoin Gabby’ on their trip
Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie
Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nichole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park
Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes
Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground; Witnesses say they saw a ‘commotion’ with the couple at Merry Piglets Tex-mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming
Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm
Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito’s phone: ‘No service in Yosemite’
Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito
Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida
Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day
Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito
Sept. 13: Laundrie’s lawyer says on October 5 that his parents now ‘believe’ this was the day they last saw him heading for a hike
Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Laundrie’s parents claim on September 17 that Laundrie left his parents’ home for a hike this day and they hadn’t seen from him since
Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case
Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown
Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie
Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon
Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation
Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carton Reserve
Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13
Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando
Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie
Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children
Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left
Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14;
Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home
Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did
Oct. 2: A hiker along the Appalachian Trail claims to have seen Laundrie near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina
Oct. 3: Investigators searched the area on the Appalachian trail for any signs that Laundrie had been there
Oct. 4: Laundrie’s sister told protestors outside her home that her family has been ignoring her after they rebuked her story and that she does not know where her brother is
Oct 5: Laundrie’s sister appeared on Good Morning America to say she would turn her brother in if she knew where he is;
Oct. 7: Laundrie’s father Christopher joins FBI agents on the search for his son at the Carlton Reserve but the search brings up no clues
Oct. 12: Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announces autopsy findings which show Petito died by strangulation; No specific date of death was given – only that she was dead 3-4 weeks before her body was found
Oct. 16: Petito’s parents are seen collecting her ashes from the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming
October 20: Human remains found in Carlton Reserve