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Gabby Petito Death: Police Will Be Investigated Over Controversial Response To Domestic Dispute Call

gabby petitio brian laundrie incident police

As law enforcement continues to search for Brian Laundrie, officials in Moab, Utah are turning their attention to another potentially faulty party in relation to the Gabby Petito case: the Moab City Police Department.

The city has announced it’s launching an investigation into local police’s handling of an incident involving the murdered YouTuber and her still-MIA fiancé on August 12 — about two weeks before she stopped speaking with her family.

As internet sleuths know, police responded to a call to Grand County Dispatch about a possible domestic dispute between the traveling duo. Body camera footage of the incident showed a visibly distraught Petito and Laundrie talking to an officer after her 2012 Ford Transit was pulled over by Moab police.

Per the police report, the couple told cops they were having an argument that had been building for days and that Gabby had slapped Brian in a moment of frustration. The pair told police that he did not hit her. You can watch the police interview play out in full (below).

The problem is, the original 911 call has since gone public, and in it the witness who calls the cops in the first place explicitly states he saw the man hitting the woman. And yet police took a distraught 22-year-old’s word for it when she backed the story of the boyfriend she was trapped in a van with.

Related: Gabby Told Her BFF That Brian Would Sometimes ‘Hear Voices’

Police labeled the incident as a “mental health crisis” rather than a domestic assault. The department previously stated that “insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges” in that incident.

It’s no wonder critics like America’s Most Wanted creator John Walsh think police missed a chance to save a young woman who was obviously in trouble. Instead they basically called her hysterical and left it alone. Even a park ranger who was present has revealed she could see the relationship was “toxic” — but nothing was done about it to protect her.

Well, the force has obviously gotten an earful about their decision since Gabby’s body was found and her death ruled a homicide.

Moab City Police Chief Bret Edge said in a statement that an outside party filed a request with the police department asking for a formal investigation into the August 12 incident.

The department “will identify an unaffiliated law enforcement agency to conduct the formal investigation on our behalf.” This other agency will determine if the cops really did do everything they could have.

Edge said the department welcomes the investigation, and if the probe identifies areas for improvement, he says, “we will take that information to heart, learn from it, and make changes if needed to ensure we are providing the best response and service to our community.”

Related: Gabby’s Family Starts Legal Battle With Brian’s Family Lawyer!

Moab city officials echoed that sentiment, saying in a statement they “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,” adding that the department’s officers “have been both praised and criticized for their response and their resolution of the incident involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie.”

Praised? Have they? Huh.

The city said the department “has clear standards for officer conduct during a possible domestic dispute and our officers are trained to follow those standards and protocol,” adding in an additional statement to ABC News:

“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.”

In the meantime, the search continues for Laundrie, who returned to his home on September 1 without Gabby — and then disappeared himself at some point during the search.

Thoughts on this new investigation?

[Image via ABC 7/YouTube]

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Sep 23, 2021 17:05pm PDT