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The family of Gabby Petito has announced their plans to file a $50 million wrongful lawsuit against police in Utah for allegedly neglecting to protect her.
The family notified Moab City Police Department officials on Monday of their plans to file the suit, which alleges that police failed to save their daughter last summer, the Associated Press reports. Weeks before Petito's boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, killed her by strangulation, police pulled the couple over in Moab. The young couple was traveling across the country in a van at the time.
The traffic stop was conducted after a citizen called, telling the dispatcher that they saw a man slapping a girl. Body cam footage reveals that police decided to allow the couple go as long as they promised to spend one night apart from one another. In the footage, Gabby is distraught and crying, making excuses for her boyfriend.
"While the full evidence has not been made public, when it is released, it will clearly show that if officers had been properly trained and followed the law, Gabby would still be alive today," James McConkie, one of the attorneys for the Petito family, said during a Monday presser, Fox 11 reports. "Failure to follow the law can have deadly consequences, as it did in this case."
McConkie also alleged that the Moab City Police Department has a "high turnover, lack of leadership and dangerous mismanagement for years."
The notice of intent is required before filing a lawsuit. The lawsuit names responding officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins, former Chief Bret Edge and Assistant Chief Braydon Palmer as defendants.
A representative of the city of Moab told Oxygen.com that they do not comment on pending litigation.
Petito went missing about a month after that traffic stop, after which Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in Florida before also vanishing. From there, a nationwide search to locate Petito — and the manhunt for Laundrie — captivated America and became one of 2021's biggest stories. Petito's remains were ultimately found in Wyoming weeks after she was reported missing. Laundrie's body was found in a Florida nature preserve a few weeks after that, and it was determined that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Earlier this month, Petito’s mother announced that she would be donating $100,000 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, in an effort to help others.
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