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Moab police handling of Petito-Laundrie traffic stop is out for review by outside agency

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Posted at 3:25 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 17:25:53-04

MOAB, Utah — Moab’s assistant police chief says the Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie domestic violence investigation has been sent to another agency that will consider whether officers handled the case appropriately.

The assistant chief, Braydon Palmer, declined to tell FOX 13 on Monday which agency is reviewing the case or when the review will be complete. Palmer said he was trying to protect the investigation.

Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 24, were traveling across the country in a van and documenting the trip on social media. At one point, the couple was engaged.

They were in Moab on Aug. 12. A witness reported seeing a man, later identified as Laundrie, hitting the woman who turned out to be as Petito. Moab police stopped the couple’s van on U.S. Highway 191 at the entrance to Arches National Park.

The officers determined Petito was the aggressor. While Utah law says aggressors in domestic violence assaults shall be cited or arrested, the officers instead separated the couple for the night.

Petito’s remains were found Sept. 19 near a dispersed campground in the Bridger-Teton National Forest along the east boundary of Grant Teton National Park. An autopsy determined she was strangled.

Laundrie was considered a person of interest in the homicide. His remains were found Wednesday in the Carlton Reserve, a natural area in west central Florida.