Did Utah police officers fumble an opportunity to save Gabby Petito’s life?

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MOAB CITY, UT – The Moab City Police Department is coming under fire today after a transcript from the 9-1-1 call that reported Brian Laundrie assaulting Gabby Petito was released.

The call which lead to the now infamous traffic stop which police bodycam footage has been released was initially a domestic assault call of a man hitting a woman.

“RP (reporting party) states seeing a male hit a female, domestic,” the dispatcher called out to police. “He got into a white Ford Transit van, has a black ladder on the back, Florida plate.”

When police caught up to the couple outside Arches National Park, Petito quickly turned into the prime suspect as police cozied up with Laundrie, appearing to take his side. At one point, Petito was questioned after Laundrie showed visible evidence of assault, which she claimed was in self-defense to the officers.

Instead of making an arrest, the officers ‘separated’ the couple for the night and let them go on their way.

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Under Utah law, officers were obligated to make an arrest when there is evidence of assault in a domestic violence case. Even if the police had arrested Petito, it could have saved her life, many are now claiming.

Last weekend, Petito’s body was found in a ravine 520 miles north in Grand Teton National Park. Laundrie returned to his home state of Florida without her and has been missing now for over a week.

It’s uncertain whether charges against Petito or Laundrie would have spared the 22-year-old Long Island woman’s life. The outcome of this story might have been inevitable regardless of the path it took to get there. Had the Utah police officers followed protocol, it’s uncertain which path the couple may have taken upon their release from the local jail.