Weeks before Gabby Petito went missing, police responded to an incident involving her and Brian Laundrie.
A new report concluded the officers made “several unintentional mistakes” in the case.
One of the officers said he was “devastated” by what happened to Petito after their encounter.
One of the police officers who encountered Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito in Moab, Utah, weeks before her disappearance said he was “devastated” by her death, according to a new report.
“I’m desperately fucked over that she got killed. I really am,” Officer Eric Pratt said. “I would have done anything to stop it if I would have known that was coming.”
An independent investigation was conducted by Captain Brandon Ratcliffe of the Price City Police Department to evaluate the Moab Police Department’s handling of the August 12 incident, when officers responded to a potential domestic violence episode involving Laundrie and Petito. Officers pulled over their van and questioned the pair, before determining the incident was a mental health crisis and recommending they spend the night apart.
Petito was last seen on August 24 and reported missing by her family on September 11. Her body was found on September 19 in a remote camping area in Wyoming.
When Pratt said during his interview for the report he didn’t identify any “red flags” that suggested Laundrie would murder Petito.
“If I would have known he was going to murder her, I would have taken vacation to follow them, because I care about people,” Pratt said. “I would have intervened and citizens arrested him in Wyoming! I would have taken my own time; I would have missed my family to go do that.”
The report concluded that Pratt and Officer Daniel Robbins made “several unintentional mistakes” in their handling of the incident with Petito and Laundrie but that “they both believed at the time they were making the right decision based on the totality of the circumstances that were presented.”
“There were mistakes made in how this case was handled. If this case was handled flawlessly, would it have changed anything? Nobody knows,” the report said.
Pratt also said that he accepts responsibility for anything he did wrong, but doesn’t “want anyone to think that I did not care.”
“I do want anyone involved to know that I talked to Gabby, and I treated Gabby as much like I could — fatherly — the way I would want another cop to interact with my daughter, even if he got it wrong. I do care. I am devastated about it. I cared that day and I still care,” he said. “I don’t think the public gets that we….I don’t know if they know we care. I don’t know if they know.”
The report recommended Pratt and Robbins be placed on probation, and for the department to undergo training on domestic violence and report writing, among other suggestions.
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