The parents of Gabby Petito have released a selfie of their daughter’s bruised face as part of a wrongful death lawsuit, which was found on her phone after her tragic passing.
Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie were on a cross-country road trip, which was documented on YouTube, but she vanished along the way.
Her remains were later discovered in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest, while Laundrie’s body was found with a notebook confessing to her murder, claiming it was a “merciful” act as Petito was allegedly injured and in extreme pain.
However, Petito’s family’s attorney Patrick Reilly has dismissed Laundrie’s claims as “nonsense.”
The released selfie, which was taken on August 12, 2021, shows Gabby with a bruised face. See below:
Gabby Petito’s parents and their lawyers release heartbreaking selfie Gabby took of her beaten and bruised face moments before Utah police were called about an attack on her by Brian Laundrie. The police did not take Laundrie into custody, and failed to protect her. pic.twitter.com/Xw6KSMjagZ
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) February 7, 2023
Minutes after the photo was taken, a bystander called 911 to report that they had seen Laundrie slapping her in a parking lot in Moab, Utah.
Footage from a Moab City Police Department bodycam shows that the officers arrived at the scene around 4:45 PM.
While the initial footage suggested that Petito was the aggressor, a second video showed her acknowledging that she had been hit and grabbed by Laundrie, who left a scratch mark on her face.
Gabby can be seen wearing the same clothing and necklaces in the selfie and the bodycam footage, in which she told the officer that Laundrie had “grabbed” her face, demonstrating the act with her hand on her cheek.
The officer asked if he had slapped her, to which Gabby replied, “He grabbed me with his nail, and I guess that’s why it looks – I definitely have a cut right here. I can feel it. When I touch it, it burns.”
The lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department argues that the officers failed to recognize Gabby as a victim and failed to investigate the seriousness of the assault, among other allegations.
Attorney Brian Stewart from Parker & McConkie released a statement, saying, “Moab police failed to listen to Gabby, failed to investigate her injuries and the seriousness of her assault, and failed to follow their own training, policies, and Utah law.”
Petito’s parents, Joe Petito and Nicole Schmit, are supporting a bill called SB117 that would create a database for police of past domestic violence incidents and calls, even if the reports did not result in criminal charges.
The bill would also require officers to ask questions, known as the “Lethality Assessment Program,” to determine the level of danger to someone.
Nicole Schmit has said, “Our daughter, Gabby, died as a result of intimate partner violence that could have and should have been identified by law enforcement using the lethality assessment.”
After a formal complaint was filed with the Moab City Police Department, an independent law enforcement agency conducted a review of the incident and recommended improvements to the department’s policies and training, including additional training in domestic violence investigation.
The force has stated that it plans to add a trained domestic violence specialist, provide additional resources and tools, and implement added and ongoing training and testing to ensure that officers understand the policies and procedures.