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Gabby Petito would have still been ALIVE if case was handled better, suggests new probe

The report into the incident concluded that Moab city officers made 'unintentional mistakes' after responding to a 911 call on August 12
Gabby Petito had admitted to being the aggressor in a public skirmish with her boyfriend (Moab City Police)
Gabby Petito had admitted to being the aggressor in a public skirmish with her boyfriend (Moab City Police)

A new investigative report released on Wednesday, January 12, has claimed that Moab Police should have cited Gabby Petito for domestic violence when they pulled over her and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie last summer. The probe asked whether Petito would still be alive if the authorities had handled the case differently.

The report into the incident concluded that Moab city officers made "unintentional mistakes" after responding to a 911 call on August 12 to stop Petito and Laundrie in the middle of their doomed road trip. As per the report, the two responding officers should have cited Petito at Arches National Park after she admitted to being the aggressor in a public skirmish, despite the fact that she wasn't the “long-term predominant aggressor in this relationship."


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Price City Police Department Captain Brandon Ratcliffe commented on the probe, noting the many "what-ifs" outlined in the case. “There are many ‘what-ifs’ that have presented itself [sic] as part of this investigation, the primary one being: Would Gabby be alive today if this case was handled differently?” Ratcliffe said in a statement. “That is an impossible question to answer despite it being the answer that many people would want to know. Nobody knows and nobody will ever know the details to that question. My job is to provide information into the details of this investigation and if it was handled appropriately.”

The report, which runs nearly 100 pages, detailed the Moab City Police Department's handling of the aforementioned domestic dispute between Laundrie and Petito, two weeks before her remains were found in Wyoming. “After a formal complaint was filed with the Moab City Police Department, an independent law enforcement agency has completed a thorough review of the August 12, 2021, domestic violence incident involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie,” read a summary of the report.


The officers who responded to the incident made "several unintentional mistakes" as they "failed to cite Ms Petito for domestic violence," per the report. The investigation was launched after a formal complaint was filed with the department following criticism against the officers that they treated Petito as the abuser instead of the victim. "The City acknowledges that this finding may raise questions, and the issue is examined extensively in the investigative report," the City of Moab, Utah, wrote in the report.

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe noted in the report that “just because there may have been some signs that Brian was the long-term predominant aggressor, law enforcement could only act on the information they were provided,” adding that it was “very likely Gabby was a long-term victim of domestic violence.”

A makeshift memorial dedicated to Gabby Petito near City Hall in North Port, Florida on September 20, 2021 (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

The report outlined recommendations for improvements in both the policies and the training of the Moab Police. “These recommendations include: providing additional training in domestic violence investigation, as well as additional legal training to ensure officers understand state laws and statutes. Conducting an overall policy review; conducting a software review, and strengthening the review process for incident reports," the document stated.

Meanwhile, the report also called for a statement by the original 911 caller, which was never received, insisting that it would make the incident report "more complete". Responding to the investigative review, the City of Moab said in a statement, "Based on the report’s findings, the City of Moab believes our officers showed kindness, respect, and empathy in their handling of this incident."