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TOO LITTLE TOO LATE? Moab PD hires domestic violence specialist a YEAR after Gabby Petito’s death

A report released in January, recommended improvements in both policies and training of Moab City PD, among several other changes
UPDATED AUG 30, 2022
A year after the tragic killing of Gabby Petito, her parents are ensuring the incident is not repeated (gabspetito/Instagram/ Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
A year after the tragic killing of Gabby Petito, her parents are ensuring the incident is not repeated (gabspetito/Instagram/ Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

MOAB, UTAH: The family of Gabby Petito won the first victory a year after the death of the young travelers. Gabby was strangled to death by her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, near the Grand Tetons on Sept. 19, 2021, after the couple was stopped by police in the small town of Moab.

As the US Sun reports, police in Utah have appointed a domestic violence specialist. A witness who called 911 to report a "domestic dispute" claimed he saw Brian, 23, hit Gabby as they argued on the street on August 12, 2021, the newspaper reports.


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The US Sun reports that the independent witness claimed he was left stunned after seeing Brian strike Gabby in the head with "a closed fist." Police later discovered the couple's white van near Arches National Park.

Screenshot FOX 13 Tampa Bay
Gabby Petito was traveling with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, in a cargo van the two had outfitted as a makeshift recreational vehicle for a month-long cross-country road trip when she mysteriously disappeared (Screenshot FOX 13 Tampa Bay)

An independent review by the outlet revealed various "unintentional mistakes," which include not getting a statement from the 911 caller, and not making an arrest. According to the US Sun, there were plans to add a trained domestic violence specialist to oversee incidents investigated by Moab officers.

The position has reportedly been filled by a female officer, who is believed to have relocated with her family to Moab from another town.

Meanwhile, Gabby's devastated family is filing a $50million wrongful death suit. Attorney Brian C Stewart while speaking to the US Sun said, "We knew that since at least June of 2022 Moab PD had been looking to hire a domestic violence specialist, but were not aware that they had made a hire," adding, "We believe that the Moab PD should have had resources, such as a domestic violence specialist, in place years ago, but are pleased that they are making efforts to correct its past failings."

As per the outlet, the department had hired a new police chief, Jared Garcia, but most of the residents are yet to meet him after he took on the role in May. 

Residents have nicknamed Gabby "America's daughter" after the story made headlines around the world last year and they said that they were still heartbroken for Gabby's family. "I've had bad experiences in the past, I think it's been a good old boys situation, and it's still a good old boys situation," said Barbara Lawley, 62, when asked about the local police. Lawley was also asked if Chief Garcia has introduced himself around town but she said "No, he hasn't, but I've seen him in the paper."

Resident Lesley Parker, 50, claimed officers often dine and drink together in town at the same spots after clocking off, and allegedly make a habit of annoying locals. She told the outlet, "the police officers come in at the end of their shift and they'll just sit at the bar and be loud and obnoxious. They put out a bad vibe. It's like, I'm bigger. I'm better. I'm untouchable." So the locals, we don't trust them, we don't like them."