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The Real Reason Gabby Petito's Family Just Filed $50 Million Lawsuit

Nicki Swift logo: MainLogoNicki Swift 8/8/2022 DM
Gabby Petito smiling © Instagram Gabby Petito smiling

Gabby Petito's family plans to continue their legal battle against those they feel were negligent in the 2021 case. The tragedy, which quickly became a media spectacle, ended when Petito's body was discovered a week after she was reported missing. At the time of her disappearance, the New York native was on a cross-country roundtrip with her fiance, Brian Laundurie, who was found dead weeks later.

Shortly before her death, officers from the Moab City Police Department responded to a domestic dispute near Arches National Park. According to the police report, Petito and Laundurie refused to file charges and insisted they were simply dealing with "personal issues." "Ultimately, it was decided Officer Robbins would conclude this case and Officer Pratt left the scene," the report read. "Officer Robbins advised Gabby that she was not going to be getting charged with anything but stated he had to separate her and Brian for the night."

Now, Petito's parents are taking action against the Utah police department for way things were handled during that incident.

Gabby Petito's Family Is Suing The Moab City Police Department

Joe Petito (L) pleas for help during a news conference to help finding his missing daughter © Octavio Jones/Getty Images Joe Petito (L) pleas for help during a news conference to help finding his missing daughter

On August 8, Gabby Petito's parents announced plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department for "their negligent failure to first understand the law and enforce it," said attorney James McConkie (via WFLA). "And second, for the wrongful death of their daughter. In this regard, this morning we have filed a notice of claim which is the first step in initiating future litigation."

The family, through their attorney, went on to explain that the suit was not intended to target specific officers, but to "hold our institutions accountable for their failures." Furthermore, the motion suggests that responding officers were not properly trained, leaving them unable to properly assist Petito during the dispute.

The news of the impending lawsuit comes nearly a week after Petito's parents donated $100,000 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. "No family should feel the pain that we've felt every day since we lost Gabby," Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, said (via Yahoo). "Survivors who are able to reach out should connect with an advocate quickly." Petito's family has vowed to continue the work of the Gabby Petito Foundation, which raises awareness for victims of domestic violence.

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