The family of Gabby Petito has officially filed a wrongful death.. They believe that the officers’ response to the event, which happened on August 12, 2021, led to their daughter’s eventual death by her partner, Brian Laundrie.
Wrongful death claims are always complex and emotional, and families need the right legal assistance.
Details of the Lawsuit
The parents of Gabby Petito, who was 22 years old when she died, are filing a $50 million. Investigators who reviewed the incident, which was completed in January of 2022, reported that the officers made several errors in how they managed the case. The first mistake was their classification of the incident – more of an emotional break rather than a situation of domestic violence.
They also did not include details about the event in their reports. These details covered injuries sustained by Petito. In addition, they did not ask Laundrie about scratches that appeared on Petito’s cheek and arm.
In the recent filing, the Petito family lawyers state that the police officers involved in the case received the proper training for assessing abuse and lethality.
Lawyers also added that “[the officers knew] Gabby was a victim of intimate partner violence . . . “ – that they knew she needed immediate protection from Brian Laundrie, her boyfriend at the time.
During the referenced incident, officers stopped Petito and Laundrie after they observed their van speeding and crossing a double yellow line. The vehicle finally stopped after striking a curb close to Arches National Park. A witness also called the police after seeing Laundrie slapping Petito during the altercation.
The officers interviewed Laundrie and Petito separately.
When Gabby was questioned about the dispute with Laundrie, court documents stated that she showed the classic indicators of someone being abused. In addition, she attempted to take the blame for the incident, claiming that she hit her partner first.
The Petito family’s attorneys claimed that a recent image, which hasn’t been made public yet, shows a close-up of Gabby’s face “where blood is smeared on her cheek and left eye.”
The petition stated that the photo shows that Gabby’s face was injured in such a way that could have obstructed her airway.
Petito was crying “uncontrollably” when the police pulled the van over. According to authorities, Petito admitted to officers that she had been having mental health issues and that she and Laundrie had been bickering prior to the roadway incident.
According to Laundrie, Petito and he had been on the road for four to five months at the time, which had put a strain on their relationship. He claimed that he attempted to physically distance himself from Petito during their disagreement in Moab to calm things down.
The 22-year-old woman was on the phone with her parents after being pulled over, according to the Petito family’s attorneys. The parents, during the call, reportedly insisted that she leave Laundrie.
However, when they found out that the police were engaged, Petito’s parents accepted Gabby’s assurances that she could continue on her trip. Unfortunately, police in Moab decided to define the incident as a mental health crisis rather than a domestic assault. Also, a police officer on the scene identified Petito as the incident’s principal aggressor when making the decision to keep the two apart for the evening. But after Laundrie returned without his girlfriend to his family’s house in North Port, Florida, a search was Immediately launched into the girl’s whereabouts. Petito’s remains were later discovered in Wyoming in Grand Teton National Park. The cause of death was manual strangulation.
Several weeks after the discovery, Laundries’ remains also turned up in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida. He apparently died from suicide.
The Moab Police Department’s handling of the prior domestic dispute has given way to the parents seeking compensation for their daughter’s death. Because of the mistakes made by police, they believe the officers could’ve done more to save Gabby’s life.
The mother of Gabby Petito, Nichole Schmidt, also took legal action against Brian Laundrie’s estate by filing a wrongful death suit in May 2022.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case or Wrongful Death Claim?
Whether you have a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim in Texas, you have two years to file a lawsuit. Learn more about your rights by contacting Cesar Ornelas Injury Law at (210) 592-4114 today.
Originally from Kyle, Texas, Mr. Ornelas is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation attorney.
Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.