UTAH

Family of Gabby Petito announces intent to file lawsuit against Moab Police

Aug 8, 2022, 11:03 AM | Updated: 6:45 pm
James McConkie is pictured. The petito family filed a lawsuit against Moab Police...
James McConkie announces the lawsuit at a press conference on August 8, 2022. (Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio)
(Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio)

MOAB, Utah — The family of Gabby Petito has announced their intent to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department (MCPD). The family alleges that Moab police officers failed to protect Petito from her fiance and traveling partner, Brian Laundrie. 

In a press conference Monday, a lawyer representing the Petito family, Brian Stewart said, “The officers failed to recognize the serious danger that she was in. And failed to investigate fully and properly.”

Police received 911 call about Petito

Moab Police received a 911 call about Petito and Laundrie on August 12, 2021. Responding Officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins questioned the couple separately that day about injuries they each had. 

The officers eventually recommended the two spend the night away from each other and did not find that the couple’s situation rose to the level of domestic violence.

An independent investigation into the officer’s response was later conducted. The investigator found that the officers made “unintentional mistakes” and the MCPD should make changes to its training.

The investigation concluded that there was enough probable cause to make an arrest, with Petito being the aggressor in the situation.

The Petito family claims the officers failed to understand the law. The family also says police were not properly trained to handle domestic violence. The family claims the officers failed to identify Laundrie as the aggressor.

“While the full evidence has not yet been made public, when it is released, it will clearly show that if the officers had been properly trained and followed the law, Gabby would still be alive today. Failure to follow the law can have deadly consequences, as it did in this case,” said James McConkie, a Parker & McConkie attorney representing the Petito family. 

Petito family: “officers weren’t properly trained”

The family’s attorneys also claim that if officers had the proper training, they would have identified Petito as a victim of domestic violence and known she needed protection. 

During the press conference, Stewart said the family wasn’t trying to punish the individual officers involved but to demand change that will help officers do their job better.

“The Petito family believes that it is important as a society to hold our governmental institutions to account for such failures and to work toward changes to protect victims of domestic abuse and violence and prevent such tragedies in the future,” said Stewart.

At the press conference, Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt said, “We just want to help people. We’re going to do whatever we can. And that’s why we’re here.”

The lawsuit will seek $50 million in damages.

Moab City said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Aimee Cobabe contributed to the reporting of this story.

Related:

 

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

Deputies with the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office are investigating a new scam to hit the area and...
Mark Jones

New scam in Duchesne County includes threat on life of a family member

Authorities in Duchesne County are warning people to be on the lookout for a new scam in which a caller threatens to kill a family member if certain financial information isn't provided.
1 day ago
An Orem school, Orem High School is pictured. alpine school district split debate...
Becky Bruce and Jessica Lowell

Orem, Alpine School District split debate centers on whose math you believe

The Utah Taxpayers Association supports the break-up of the Alpine district, in part because it finds problems with the data used by the Stronger Together Coalition, which opposes the split. 
1 day ago
Provo Police car pictured, they are investigating a crash on state street...
Samantha Herrera

Deadly day for Utah roads, two killed in separate crashes on State Street

A motorcyclist was killed in a Provo crash on State Street this morning while a motorist died in a crash in Pleasant Grove only hours later.
1 day ago
Colorado river is pictured, its water supplies Utah but it is running out...
Adam Small

Utah leaders ask businesses to contribute to water conservation amid Colorado River shortage

The Colorado River supplies water to Utah, but due to its shortage businesses are being asked to do their part for water conservation.
1 day ago
pedestrian ogden freeway fatal...
Simone Seikaly

Pedestrian killed on NB I-15 in Ogden, another in critical condition

The Utah Highway Patrol said two people were on the left shoulder of the freeway just prior to 24th Street when they were hit.
1 day ago
FILE - Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News...
Elizabeth Weiler

Hotel brings honey to the beehive state

Hilton Salt Lake City Center has placed several beehives on their rooftop in sustainability efforts and ecosystem strengthening. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Family of Gabby Petito announces intent to file lawsuit against Moab Police