MOAB, Utah — The city of Moab plans to investigate its own police department’s handling of an interaction with Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in August, just before Petito vanished from public view.
In a statement provided to KSL NewsRadio, Moab city leaders acknowledged the intense publicity on both the case of Gabby Petito, later found dead in Wyoming, and her interaction with Moab police.
“During the past week, our police officers have been both praised and criticized for their response and their resolution of the incident involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie,” the city wrote.
Police interaction with Petito in Moab under microscope
A passerby called Grand County Dispatch last month after witnessing what he described as a man, later identified as Brian Laundrie, slapping a woman, later identified as Gabby Petito, in a white van.
Moab police intercepted the couple just inside the entrance to Arches National Park. They concluded Gabby Petito was the likely aggressor. Police advised the pair to spend a night apart to cool off.
Laundrie returned home to Florida with their white van on Sept. 1. Her family reported Petito missing ten days later.
Searchers found her body in the Spread Creek dispersed camping area of Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. It was an area identified as a possible campsite for Petito and Laundrie by Dave Cawley, the host of the KSL podcast COLD.
Laundrie disappeared after telling his family he was headed to a Florida nature reserve, the focus of large-scale searches in recent days.
In the statement, the city of Moab said it does not know of any breach of protocol or policy during the police department interaction with Petito and Laundrie last month, but it would investigate.
“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,” the city wrote. “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.”
More reasons for concern?
The Moab incident gained more scrutiny after an Instagram user came forward to say she encountered Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in an apparently argument at a Wyoming restaurant on Aug. 27, their interaction seemingly similar to that witnessed in Moab a couple of weeks before.
The FBI wants anyone who interacted with Petito and Laundrie between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30 to share that information, and if possible, photo or video evidence, with them. You can do so via this link.
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