Could An Arrest Have Saved Gabby Petito’s Life? An Independent Investigation Suggests Yes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Gabby Petito should have been arrested. That’s the headline from an independent investigation into the Petito case. The report recommends that the officers who stopped Petito and Brian Laundrie last year in Utah, should be put on probation for not arresting Petito.

Originally, an officer said Petito needed to go to jail since she admitted to being the aggressor in the fight between the couple that day. This is body cam video from that police stop. You can hear an officer tell Petito, “I’ve decided I’m not going to cite you for domestic violence and battery. Okay? It was only going to be a class ‘b’ misdemeanor, but the domestic violence portion of it makes life a major pain in the butt, especially…you’re 22, right? So, I’m choosing not to cite you today.”

So why does any of this matter now? Because if Petito had been arrested, she might still be alive today. That day in the desert, the couple said they didn’t want Petito to be arrested. Officers eventually agreed not to charge her, as long as the couple agreed to spend the night apart. A little over month later, Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming. And in October, Laundrie was found dead in a Florida nature reserve.

Our question of the night: should police have arrested Gabby Petito for hitting Brian Laundrie?

This episode’s panel features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB TV’s Zach Aldridge
WCCB News Edge contributor Tremaine “QCB” Sloan