Police officer Eric Pratt was one of the tourist town police who questioned the couple on August 12 after a potential domestic violence incident between them was reported by a relevant viewer. Officials let them go on condition that they agree to spend the night apart, and arrange a hotel room. Petito was last seen on August 24, and her body was found in a remote forest in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on September 19.
On Wednesday, a independent investigative report determined that the officers failed to fulfill their duties by not pressing any charges. The report said officers should have arrested Petito after she admitted to assaulting Laundrie first during an altercation, and recommended that the officer should be placed on probation for “several unintentional mistakes”.
The report includes an interview with Officer Pratt, who apparently remains traumatized after failing to prevent Petito’s death. “I am desperate because she was killed. I really am,” said the officer. “I would do anything to stop it if I knew it was coming.”
Officer Pratt continued: “If I knew [Laundrie] would kill her, I should have gone on vacation to spy on them, because I cared about people, to the point where he would kill her… and I intervened and the citizens arrested him in Wyoming! I had my own time. I missed my family so much to go do that. ”
The report found that Pratt and his colleague Daniel Robbins “both believed in the moment when they made the right decision based on the totality of the presented situations.” It refused to blame officers for Petito’s death, noting that it occurred weeks later and several hundred miles from their August 12 encounter in Moab, outside the entrance to Arches National Park .
However, it does note that, if the case is handled perfectly, Petito is likely to be arrested. “Based on the information provided, in this particular incident, Brian will be the victim with Gabby as the suspect,” the report read, noting that Petito admitted to hitting Laundrie.
Captain Brandon Ratcliffe of the Price City Police Department in Utah wrote: “I don’t see that they enforce the law. “They are responding to a confirmed case of domestic violence and they have evidence that an assault has occurred. Statements by all those involved, together with the evidence presented, provide a possible cause for an arrest. “
In October, a coroner determined that Petito died of strangulation. Laundrie disappeared just days after Petito was reported missing, and was found dead by suicide in a Florida nature reserve on October 20.
Ratcliffe wrote that it was “an unanswerable question” whether Petito would still be alive if officers responded otherwise, saying responsibility for her death lay with “the person or persons responsible.” direct … There was a mistake in this case. handling. If this case is handled perfectly, will it change anything? No one knows.”
In a statement, the city of Moab said it “intended to implement the recommendations of the report” and said the report demonstrated “our employees demonstrated kindness, respect, and empathy.” feel when they handle this case.”