Moab to investigate police handling of Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito altercation

The City of Moab, Utah, tells Fox News on Thursday that it is launching an investigation into how police handled an Aug. 12 incident between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie. 

"With the weeks-long search for Ms. Petito across the western U.S., news that a call to Grand County Dispatch on Aug. 12 reported a possible domestic dispute between Ms. Petito and Brian Laundrie here in Moab has naturally led to questions from the media and the public about the call," the city of Moab said Thursday. "During the past week, our police officers have been both praised and criticized for their response and their resolution of the incident involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie." 

"At this time, the City of Moab is unaware of any breach of Police Department policy during this incident," their statement continued. "However, the City will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, will take any next steps that may be appropriate." 


The city also said, "we understand that individuals can view the same situation in very different ways, and we recognize how the death of Ms. Petito more than two weeks later in Wyoming might lead to speculation, in hindsight, about actions taken during the incident in Moab." 

Moab City Police Chief Bret Edge, in a statement provided to Fox News on Thursday, said an outside party filed a request with the department to conduct an investigation and that it will "identify an unaffiliated law enforcement agency to conduct the formal investigation on our behalf." 

"Should the investigation identify areas for improvement we will take that information to heart, learn from it, and make changes if needed to ensure we are providing the best response and service to our community," Edge added. 

A witness to the domestic incident between Petito and Laundrie believed that the couple was fighting over a phone and that Laundrie may have been trying to ditch his fiancée, according to a witness statement obtained by Fox News earlier this week


Gabby Petito, left, and Brian Laundrie are seen in bodycam footage released by the Moab City Police Department in Utah. (Moab City Police Department)


"They were talking aggressively [at] each other [and] something definitely seemed off," the witness, identified only as Christopher, wrote in the Aug. 12 statement. "At one point, they were sort of fighting over a phone – I think the male took the female’s phone. It appeared that he didn’t want her in the white van." 

Petito's body later was found in Wyoming on Sunday while Brian Laundrie who is a person of interest, remains missing. 

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report. 

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