THE probe in the Moab Police asked whether Gabby Petito would be alive if cops had handled the case differently.
Captain Brandon Ratcliffe of the Price City Police Department made a statement about the probe, discussing the many “what-ifs” in the case.
“There are many ‘what-ifs’ that have presented itself as part of this investigation, the primary one being: Would Gabby be alive today if this case was handled differently?” Ratcliffe said.
“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.”
A nearly 100-page report was released Wednesday, detailing the Moab City Police Department’s handling of a domestic dispute between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito in Utah, 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 the front-page summary of the report.
According to the report, the officers who responded to the incident made “several unintentional mistakes” due to the fact that officers “failed to cite Ms. Petito for domestic violence.”
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The investigation into the incident came after a formal complaint was file with the police department after much criticism against the officers, claiming that they treated Petito as the abuser, rather than the victim.
While revealing that Gabby should’ve been cited for domestic violence, the City of Moab Utah wrote in the report: “The City acknowledges that this finding may raise questions, and the issue is examined extensively in the investigative report.”
The importance of the traffic stop was discussed by NewsNation correspondent, Brian Entin.
“What happened during this traffic stop and the way the two officers handled the traffic stop did impact the entire thing,” he said.
“We would not even be here doing this story right now if things happened differently during this traffic stop. That is why this report is so important.”
Improvements in both the policies and the training of the Moab Police were recommended by the report.
“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 report also found that a statement was never received by the original 911 caller, recommending that it should be done to make the incident report “more complete.”
POLICE DEPARTMENT’S RESPONSE
The Sun contacted the Moab City Police Department for comment and the city pointed to the cover of the report, which includes its response to the investigative review.
“Based on the report’s findings, the City of Moab believes our officers showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident,” the statement read.
It also detailed some of the recommendations for the police department, including additional training for domestic violence investigations, legal training to ensure officers understand state law, among other steps.
While the city told The Sun that police would not be speaking on the new report, the acting police chief addressed the traffic stop in October.
Moab Assistant Police Chief Braydon Palmer told CBS affiliate KUTV that the department was taking steps to improve following complaints over how it handled body camera footage tied to the incident.
Officer Daniel Robbins’ body camera video was released on September 16 while Officer Eric Pratt’s video was released two weeks later, on September 30, KUTV reported.
Meanwhile, Laundrie’s parents are fighting in court to access his estate, which would include $20,000 in his bank account and the notebook some think holds the secrets of Gabby Petito’s murder.
According to family attorney Steven Bertolino, once the FBI closes the case on Gabby’s murder and Brian’s death by suicide, “retained property will be returned to its owner.”