Utah officer who responded to Gabby Petito incident said he 'would have done anything to stop' her death

  • Weeks before Gabby Petito went missing, officers responded to a call about 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 in a new report that he was "devastated" by her death.

"I'm desperately fucked over that she got killed. I really am," the officer, Eric Pratt, said. "I would have done anything to stop it if I would have known that was coming."

The report, released on Wednesday, was the result of an independent investigation into the Moab Police Department's handling of an incident on August 12, when officers responded to a call about potential domestic violence involving Laundrie and Petito. Officers pulled over their van and questioned them before determining the incident was a mental-health crisis and recommending they spend the night apart.

Petito was last seen on August 24, and her family reported her missing on September 11. Her body was found on September 19 in a remote camping area in Wyoming, and her death was ruled a homicide. Around the time authorities identified Laundrie as a person of interest in her death, he went missing. He was found dead in Florida in late October. He was never charged in her death.

Pratt said during his interview for the report that he didn't identify any "red flags" that suggested Laundrie would kill 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, adding: "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 he accepted responsibility for anything he did wrong but didn'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, among other things, that Pratt and Robbins be placed on probation and that the department undergo training on domestic violence and report writing.

Read the original article on Insider