Utah police missed chance to save Gabby Petito: family's lawsuit

The family of Gabby Petito says her murder might have been prevented if police intervened when they had a chance, The Daily Beast reports.

The family reportedly plans to file a lawsuit against Utah's Moab City Police Department department’s chief, assistant chief, and two officers for their “negligent failure” to arrest Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, for domestic violence.

“Roughly two weeks later, Brian brutally murdered Gabby, leaving her body in the woods of Grand Teton National Forest,” a notice of claim delivered the department states.

The young couple were on a cross-country road trip last year when a witness called 9-11 after seeing the pair arguing, saying Laundrie slapped Petito and then “hit her” before getting into the van and driving away. A police report then went out alerting officers to a possible assault. Officer Daniel Robbins spotted the couple’s van on the highway and pulled it over for speeding and driving erratically. Officers then interviewed Petito and Laundrie separately.

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Robbins wrote in his subsequent report that Petito was “crying uncontrollably” throughout the interview and she “didn’t seem fully coherent to the world."

“Officer Robbins also saw cuts on Gabby’s cheek and arm,” the notice says. “Gabby demonstrated how Brian had violently grabbed her face during their altercation and explained that Brian ‘gets frustrated with me a lot.’”

“Another photo taken at the time, which has not yet been released publicly, shows 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,” the notice continues. “The photo shows that Gabby’s face was grabbed across her nose and mouth, potentially restricting her airway.”

The notice alleges that officers speaking to Petito also failed to recognize the “classic hallmarks of an abused partner,” such as “attempting to take blame for the fight.”

“Whether for lack of training or refusal to follow their training, the officers did not press further."

Read the full report over at The Daily Beast.