Gabby Petito Case: Authorities Release Report on August Incident in Moab

by Jennifer Shea
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Price Police Department authorities have released their independent report on the Moab, Utah Police Department’s August 2021 traffic stop of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie. They opened an investigation into the incident after an attorney filed a formal complaint over how it was handled.

The outside investigation found that the Moab Police Department made mistakes in the traffic stop. But it deemed them accidental. Investigators recommended placing the two officers who made the stop on probation.

“I am confident and comfortable in stating the mistakes… were not made intentionally,” Price Police Capt. Brandon Ratcliffe wrote in the report, according to Fox News.

Officer Expressed Remorse About Petito’s Fate

The traffic stop grew out of a 9-1-1 call as the couple passed through Utah. The caller reported seeing Brian Laundrie slap Gabby Petito. But after officers pulled them over, both Petito and Laundrie denied this version of events. Instead, they both cast Petito as the aggressor. The officers went along with that story. They declared the incident more of a shared mental health breakdown than domestic abuse. They separated the couple for a night. Then they sent them on their way.

“Gabby was determined to be the predominant aggressor as it related to this incident,” Ratcliffe wrote. But that “doesn’t mean she was the long-term predominant aggressor in this relationship.” However, he added that the officers lacked actionable evidence of that following the stop.

Petito disappeared later that month. Her body turned up in September. The Teton County Coroner found that someone had strangled her to death.

Ratcliffe recommended further training for the Moab officers, Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins. He said Pratt confessed in interviews that he felt “devastated” about the fate Petito met.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Gabby Petito’s Murder Case Remains Technically Open

Shortly before searchers found Petito’s body, Laundrie himself disappeared. His remains later turned up in a Florida nature preserve. He had returned to the state alone after Petito vanished. An autopsy revealed that Laundrie died from a gunshot wound to the head.

As The Sun points out, the investigation into Petito’s murder remains open. Authorities had labeled Laundrie a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance. But they never formally charged him with anything.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly has Laundrie’s notebook. The FBI is analyzing it for clues. Pending an announcement from the FBI, the case remains technically unresolved, if shrouded in tragedy.  

Outsider.com