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Gabby Petito's Parents Sue Utah Police Department For $50M

The parents of Gabby Petito sued police in Moab, Ut., lleging officers neglected to investigate her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, two weeks before he killed the 22-year-old in a case that got international attention, reports USA Today. The lawsuit seeks $50 million in damages. Petito's parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schimdt, argue officers should have issued a domestic violence citation after interviewing Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie, 23, in August 2021 about a fight they had. If officers had done more to protect Petito while investigating the violent exchange, her murder could have been prevented, the parents argue. "The officers egregiously misinterpreted Gabby’s extreme emotional distress, seeing it as the cause of the domestic violence rather than its result," the lawsuit says.


What began as a missing person's case became a social media sensation, drawing amateur online sleuthers and the kind of worldwide attention that can help authorities locate missing people. Petito's remains were found in Teton County, Wy. A coroner ruled her death a homicide by strangulation. Laundrie disappeared himself before being found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Florida’s Carlton Reserve in October.

At a press conference Thursday, Schmidt said, “There are laws put in place to protect victims. And those laws were not followed. And we don’t want this to happen to anybody elsTe.” The suit claims police officers "coached Gabby to provide answers that the officers used to justify their decision not to enforce Utah law," which requires action be taken in response to domestic violence incidents. he city of Moab said the death was tragic but was not the fault of their police department.

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