Gabby Petito’s Parents File $50 Million Suit Against Moab Police

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Gabby Petito’s Parents Pay Tribute 1 Year After Her Body Was Found

Gabby Petito‘s parents are taking further legal action after the loss of their daughter.

Over a year after Gabby’s body was found in September 2021, the Petito family has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Moab Police Department for their alleged failure to protect the YouTuber in August 2021, when officers responded to domestic dispute between her and fiancé Brian Laundrie.

“They relied on these officers to uphold the law, to serve and protect their daughter,” attorney Brian Stewart of the Parker & McConkie law firm—who represents Gabby’s parents Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, as well as her stepparents Tara Petito and Jim Schmidt—shared, in part, in a statement to E! News on Nov. 3. “However, when it became clear that the officers involved did not fully investigate the threat she faced and did not follow the law, they knew they owed it to Gabby to demand accountability and change.”

Stewart also said that the family did not make the decision to file a lawsuit “lightly.”

“Gabby’s death was foreseeable and preventable,” Stewart added. “Gabby would be alive today if the officers had done their job to protect her and followed the law.”

In response to the lawsuit, the City of Moab denied being responsible for Gabby’s death. “The attorneys for the Petito family seem to suggest that somehow our officers could see into the future based on this single interaction,” a Nov. 3 statement from the city read, per CNN. “In truth, on Aug. 12, no one could have predicted the tragedy that would occur weeks later and hundreds of miles away, and the City of Moab will ardently defend against this lawsuit.”


The lawsuit comes after the release of body cam footage in October 2021 from Moab police, which showed officers responding to a report of a dispute involving Gabby and Brian. At the time, officers did not make an arrest, but advised the couple to spend the night apart.


An investigation performed by an independent law enforcement agency into the police response concluded that officers on scene made “several unintentional mistakes,” per a City of Moab statement obtained by E! News Jan. 12. According to officials, the officers never obtained a statement from the person who called 911 or cited Gabby for domestic violence despite her admitting to slapping Brian at the time.

In the report of the investigation, obtained by E! News, the investigator said that although the officers “protected the victim” by separating them, he did not find that they “enforced the law.”

“They responded to a confirmed domestic violence incident and they had evidence showing an assault had taken place,” the report read. “The statements of all those involved, along with the evidence presented, provided probable cause for an arrest.”

Gabby was reported missing in September 2021 when she failed to return home with Brian following a cross-country road trip. The 22-year-old’s remains were discovered later that month in Wyoming.

Brian, who was named a person of interest but never a suspect in Gabby’s disappearance, had returned back to Florida without his fiancée. He disappeared during the police investigation into Gabby’s case and was found dead in North Port, Fla. in October 2021. In a notebook found by his remains, Brian claimed “responsibility” for Gabby’s death in a written confession, according to authorities.

Since her passing, Gabby’s parents have also filed a civil lawsuit against Brian’s parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, under the argument that they allegedly knew Brian murdered Gabby and they were keeping his location a secret from investigators. The Laundries have denied these claims. The Laundries filed a motion to dismiss the case however, their request was denied by a judge, per court documents obtained by E! News on June 30. The first hearing for the case occurred June 22. The Laundries filed a motion on Oct. 27 asking that their depositions be limited in the case, per court documents obtained by E! News Nov. 3.

Additionally, Gabby’s mom filed a separate wrongful death lawsuit in May against the curator of Brian’s estate, seeking $30,000 in damages. No trial date has been set.

At the time, the Laundries’ attorney Steven Bertolino told E! News that the wrongful death suit was “fully expected.”

“This lawsuit will most likely not be defended and the Petitos will have gained nothing more than a piece of paper that tells them what everyone already knows,” Bertolino said, “which is that Brian was responsible for Gabby’s death as indicated by the FBI.”

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