Gabby Petito: Officers should be placed on probation, investigation finds

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Gabrielle Petito.
Gabrielle Petito.
Photo: Instagram/Screengrab
  • An independent investigative report has found officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins, who pulled Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie over before the YouTuber's death, made "several unintentional mistakes" in the handling of the situation.
  • Gabby went missing in 2021, and after her body was found, her death was ruled a homicide. Brian Laundrie went missing shortly after, and was determined to have died by suicide when his body was found.
  • The couple, who had been travelling together, had been pulled over by the officers due to reported domestic violence, but no report was filed.
  • Captain Brandon Ratcliffe said in his report because domestic violence had been committed "this should have meant an arrest was made".

Captain Brandon Ratcliffe with the Price City Police Department concluded his independent investigative report of Gabrielle 'Gabby' Petito's case, reports CNN, saying the officers who stopped the YouTuber and her fiancé on the side of the road before her death should be put on probation for making "several unintentional mistakes".

In a story that gripped the world, the van life YouTuber and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, were travelling across country in 2021 when she mysteriously went missing.

Laundrie returned home without her, before her parents reported her missing.

Shortly after, Laundrie too disappeared, and police set out to find him.

Even after her body was found – and her cause of death ruled a homicide, with the coroner saying she'd died by strangulation – Landrie was not named a suspect, but was accused of illegally using another person's debit card and pin.

Laundrie was later found dead, with a gunshot wound to the head.

Prior to this, while the search for Gabby continued, authorities released body cam footage of the couple after they were pulled over on the road after someone reported a couple had gotten into a physical confrontation in which a man was seen striking a woman.

When pulled over by officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins, Gabby admitted to hitting Laundrie first, and was made out to be the aggressor.

Police said jail time would affect Gabby and decided not to file a report but separate the two for the night.

This 12 August 2021, still image from a police bod
This 12 August 2021, still image from a police bodycam released by the Moab City Police Department in Utah, shows Gabrielle Petito speaking with police.

Now, following his report, Cap. Ratcliffe says: "I believe the officers responded to a domestic violence call and had probable cause an act of domestic violence had been committed. This should have meant an arrest was made, either by citation or custody."

He added in his report: "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. Nobody knows, and nobody will ever know the answer to that question."

It is unclear whether or not the two officers will face disciplinary action, but the city said in a statement that it "intends to implement the report's recommendations" on new policies for the police department, including additional domestic violence training and legal training for officers.

"Based on the report's findings, the City of Moab believes our officers showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident," they said.  

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