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Moab to review Petito investigation; warrant issued for fiance's arrest, reward offered

This police camera video provided by the Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12.

This police camera video provided by the Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12. (Moab police via Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

MOAB — Moab's police department is seeking an independent review of how it investigated a "domestic problem" between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie about a month before her remains were found in Wyoming.

The probe comes in response to a request for investigation from "an outside party," Moab Police Chief Bret Edge said Thursday in a prepared statement, without elaborating.

"We take all complaints seriously and we are committed to fully addressing these concerns," Edge said.

Also on Thursday, a warrant was issued for Laundrie's arrest after a federal grand jury in Wyoming indicted him on a charge of using "unauthorized access devices," meaning any device that is lost, stolen, expired or obtained with intent to defraud.

The FBI is asking the public for information about Laundrie and where he may be.

"No piece of information is too small or inconsequential to support our efforts," the agency said.

Boohoff Law, a law firm in Tampa, Florida, announced Thursday that it would offer a $20,000 reward for information that leads directly to finding Laundrie, WFLA Tampa reported.

Police in Moab spoke with the couple on the side of a road near Arches National Park on Aug. 12, after someone had called 911 to report that a man was slapping a woman outside a grocery store before the pair drove away in a white van. Two officers arranged for Laundrie to stay at a hotel and decided not to make an arrest after questioning Laundrie, 23, and a tearful Petito, 22.

The city called Petito's death a "heartbreaking tragedy" and said it will make its probe and its officers available to authorities investigating her death, which has been ruled a homicide. Results of a full autopsy have not yet been released by a Wyoming coroner.

"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," the city said. Now, it's seeking "to gather the underlying facts and evidence necessary to make a thorough, informed evaluation of such actions."

Moab communications manager Lisa Church said it hasn't been decided which law enforcement agency will conduct the probe. She said she did not know the scope of the review or if there will be any deadline.

The city said it has clear standards for responding to reports of domestic violence and its officers are trained to follow the protocol, but it is open to making changes if it can improve.

"At this time, the city of Moab is unaware of any breach of police department policy during this incident," the statement says, but its leaders will "take any next steps that may be appropriate" based on the findings.

Moab, an outdoor mecca surrounded by the region's iconic towering red rocks and several national parks, has 15 officers. It depends on them to make decisions based on the specifics of each, case, the city said.

Contributing: Jacob Klopfenstein

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