An independent review determined that the Moab, Utah, police officers who encountered Gabby Petito with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, a month before her body was found in Wyoming made several critical mistakes.
The investigative review, released to the public Wednesday and conducted by Capt. Brandon Ratcliffe of the Price City Police Department in Utah, said that the officers who responded to an incident Aug. 12 misclassified what happened between Petito and Laundrie, leaving out necessary details in their reports.
The investigation was conducted after a lawyer filed a formal complaint questioning how police treated the incident. The review recommended that the two officers, Eric Pratt and Daniel Scott Robbins, be placed on probation.
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“Both written reports are missing significant details as it relates to the who, what, when, where, and how as it relates to this incident,” Ratcliffe wrote.
The initial Moab police report outlined how the encounter began after police received a 911 call about a “domestic disturbance” involving two people in a van. An officer pulled over the van, which Laundrie was driving, on a road to Arches National Park after it crossed the double yellow line and struck a curb.
The report reflected how police tried to work with the couple who, in separate interviews with the officers, described how life wasn't easy on the road for them.
"Gabrielle, who was in the passenger seat, was crying uncontrollably," an officer wrote in his report Aug. 13.
Officers wrote that the couple – battling self-described mental health issues that led to Petito slapping Laundrie – were intelligently and sensitively trying to work out their issues.
Laundrie told an officer that he and Petito suffered from the same mental health problem, although the specific problem's name was redacted in the report. He told the investigating officer that Petito had "more advanced" issues than his own and that friction had been building between them for several days. Neither took medication for their condition, Laundrie told the officer.
The independent review found that the incident should have been classified as domestic violence – not just a mental health dispute – which would have required officers to make an arrest or issue a citation against Petito.
Petito told the officers that she slapped Laundrie first. The officers’ reports lacked details of any injury she suffered, and there's no indication they asked Laundrie about a scratch on Petito's cheek, although she told officers he grabbed her face.
Petito went missing in late August during a cross-country trip with Laundrie. A few weeks later, her remains were found in Teton County, Wyoming, and a coroner ruled her death a homicide by strangulation.
Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance and disappeared himself before being found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Florida’s Carlton Reserve in October.
Contributing: Michael James
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gabby Petito report shows police errors in meeting, 'missing details'