Police Made 'Unintentional Mistakes' In Gabby Petito Vehicle Stop

The Salt Lake Tribune | YouTube

George Francis Lee

A probe into the Utah Police Department's conduct during a vehicle stop of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito has found that the force made 'unintentional mistakes', AP reports.

The results of the independent report were released on Wednesday, and details the interaction between Laundrie, Petito and Moab police officers who were responding to a fight between the couple.

Gabby Petito was found dead after weeks of a massive missing person search. Laundrie, Petito's boyfriend, later killed himself following suspicions that he was the culprit.

The footage on the officer's body cameras has made some question whether a different outcome could have been achieved if officers did not allow the couple to leave as long as they did not see each other for a day.

The Moab Vehicle Stop: What The Report Says

The Salt Lake Tribune | YouTube

The newly revealed report highlights officers neglecting to acquire a statement from a 911 caller who had made a report of witnessing a man slap a woman outside of their van.

According to the report, officers also did not issue a citation for domestic violence once Petito had shared that she hit Laundrie. However the report shows evidence towards the fact that she was most likely the greater victim in their relationship.

"Would Gabby be alive today if this case was handled differently? That is an impossible question to answer despite it being the answer many people want to know," said Capt. Brandon Ratcliffe from the police department in Price, Utah, and who was responsible for the report.

"Nobody knows and nobody will ever know the answer to that question,” he added.

What Else Happened At The Stop?

Gabby Petito ┃ Instagram

The stop in Utah occured as Laundrie and Petito were travelling together on a cross-country road trip, which was being documented via Petito's social media accounts on YouTube and Instagram.

The couple had previously taken a road trip in late 2019 and early 2020, but had only recently purchased the van for the 2021 trip that was set to last 4 months.

After setting off in July, officers stopped the couple in their travel van after the vehicle was seen speeding and to have hit a curb close to Arches National Park. It was then that Laundrie reportedly told police that the driving was caused by a 'scuffle' after he had entered the van with dirty feet.

Officers were then given a similar story by Petito, who reportedly blamed her own wishes to maintain cleanliness in the vehicle. She admitted to hitting Laundrie first, and as neither party wished to press charges, the officers settled the incident as a mental health issue, and recommended that the couple spent the night apart.

The Report's Aftermath

Gabby Petito ┃ Instagram

The main suggestions made by the report are for greater police training in circumstances of domestic violence, amongst others, but is clear to state that blame for Petito's death does not lie with the responding officers.

As reported in the AP, The city of Moab has agreed to adopt the report's suggestions and has stated that the officers “showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident.”

Another Piece of the Gabby Petito Story

Nomadic Statik┃YouTube

The missing case and eventual murder investigation of Gabby Petito was one that quickly gained world-wide traction. In light of Petito's frequent use of social media, the story of her disappearance spread significantly in the hours and days following Laundrie's return without her in late August, 2021.

The report is but another development in the widely-publicized case that eventually saw Laundrie commit suicide. Police had considered Laundrie a person of interest from the very beginning, and many online were desperate to find his whereabouts upon his own disappearance following 13 Sept.

Read of previous developments in the case or read more true crime coverage by the Inquisitr.