City of Moab to investigate police response to incident involving Gabby Petito, fiancé

Video still of Gabrielle Petito courtesy of Moab Police Department

MOAB, Utah, Sept. 23, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The city of Moab will launch an investigation into the Moab City Police Department’s handling of an incident involving Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12.

Moab City said in a statement the police department has received both praise and criticism for “their response and their resolution of the incident involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie.”

The statement added: “The Moab City Police Department has clear standards for officer conduct during a possible domestic dispute and our officers are trained to follow those standards and protocol. At this time, the city of Moab is unaware of any breach of police department policy during this incident. However, the city will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, will take any next steps that may be appropriate.”

The statement went on to say: “We understand that individuals can view the same situation in very different ways, and we recognize how the death of Ms. Petito more than two weeks later in Wyoming might lead to speculation, in hindsight, about actions taken during the incident in Moab. The purpose of the city’s formal investigation is to gather the underlying facts and evidence necessary to make a thorough, informed evaluation of such actions.”

The police department will make all information from the Petito incident available to agencies investigating her death, and officers will also be available to answer any questions, the statement said.

The investigation stems from interactions with Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, during their trip through the mountain west, including Utah. In Moab, a bystander called 911 to report a possible domestic dispute involving the pair. Moab PD subsequently released body-camera footage and a police report detailing the incident.

On Wednesday, an Instagram user also described an incident at a Wyoming restaurant on Aug. 27. She allegedly saw allegedly saw a “relentless” Laundrie “screaming” at wait staff in a Tex-Mex restaurant, and Petito “crying hysterically.”

Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11. Laundrie returned home on Sept. 1, to the North Port, Florida, residence they shared with his family driving Petito’s van, but without her.

He refused to cooperate with authorities and was reported missing himself on Friday. A manhunt for him is underway.

On Sunday, FBI agents found the remains believed to be those of Petito in an area where the couple had been camping. On Tuesday, the FBI confirmed the human remains were those of the missing woman, and her manner of death was homicide. The cause of death has not yet been released.

Laundrie is considered a person of interest as he was believed to be the last person to see Petito alive.

Gephardt Daily has reached out to the Moab City Police Department for comment.


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