Aug 8, 2022 - News

Gabby Petito's family plans to sue Moab Police Department for $50 million

Police footage of Gabby Petito.

Police footage of Gabby Petito. (AP)

The family of Gabby Petito announced on Monday they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit alleging the Moab Police Department failed to recognize signs that their daughter was in "serious danger."

  • The family is seeking $50 million in damages.

Background: The FBI said Petito, 22, was killed by her fiancé Brian Laundrie last summer after the two embarked on a cross-country road trip living out of a van.

Catch up fast: In August, police officers responded to a witness' 911 call and found Petito and Laundrie to be "engaged in some sort of altercation," according to CNN.

  • Police talked to the couple separately and let them go after telling them to spend the night away from each other.
  • A month later, Petito's remains were found in Wyoming. A coroner ruled she died by strangulation.
  • Laundrie later died by suicide in Florida after a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.

Details: The notice of claim filed by the family on Monday revolves around Petito and Laundrie's interactions with Moab Police officers last summer.

  • "The Moab City Police Department failed to adequately respond to reports and evidence of domestic violence between Brian and Gabby," according to the notice of claim.

Of note: An independent investigation into Moab police officers' handling of the incident found the officers "made several unintentional mistakes."

What they're saying: "We believe that the only effective way to correct these problems is to hold our institutions accountable for their failures," Brian Stewart, the family's attorney, told reporters Monday.

  • Stewart said the purpose of the lawsuit was to raise awareness and education about protecting victims of domestic violence.

The other side: Moab police declined to comment, citing pending litigation, according to the Associated Press.


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