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New photo shows Gabby Petito documented facial injuries minutes before encounter with Utah police

Joseph Wilkinson, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

Gabby Petito took a photo of a cut and bruising on her face just minutes before she and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were stopped by Utah police in 2021.

The alarming photo, previously unseen by the public, was released Monday by lawyers for Petito’s parents. They’re suing police in the wake of her strangling death at the hands of her fiance.

Petito took the photo on her phone at 4:37 p.m. on Aug. 12, 2021, according to the attorneys. Police officers in Moab, Utah, began speaking with Petito and Brian Laundrie less than 20 minutes later.

In the ensuing conversation, Petito told the officers that Laundrie “grabbed my face” during a fight. She also told the cops that she started it. The officers logged the incident as disorderly conduct, not domestic violence, and ordered the couple to sleep separately that night.

“The thing that stands out to me is she was definitely trying to come to terms with what was happening in her life with this photo,” Jenn Oxborrow, a longtime victim advocate in Utah, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “When I see people documenting an injury, it’s really important for them, they have something to refer back to.”


Laundrie, 23, strangled Petito to death in Grand Teton National Park a few weeks later. He then returned home and hid out in a Florida nature preserve for weeks before taking his own life. In a private journal, he admitted to killing Petito.

Petito’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Moab police in August 2022.


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