Utah Gabby Petito cop had romantic rival arrested in 2019 domestic incident that was later dismissed


EXCLUSIVE: Eric Pratt, a Moab cop investigated for his handling of a 2021 traffic stop involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, once had a local man arrested while involved in an affair with his wife, court documents obtained by Fox News Digital reveal.

The couple was going through a rough patch and ultimately separated for good, but they were living together when the man found out about the affair and went to speak with Pratt.

Pratt met the woman on Tinder, according to the documents. They went on a few dates, and at one point she joined him for a police ride-along and failed to return home that night, according to the documents.

According to Pratt’s statement, the woman denied being married, but the man told him they had “been married during a commitment ceremony” and “consider themselves to be married.”

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Pratt told deputies that he had gone out with the woman on Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 – but said he called off the affair after learning of her relationship.

However, around 9 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2019, he said he received a phone call from her number. He was “off-duty and out of town” when he picked up and heard what he described as “some sort of emotionally charged altercation.”

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“[She] was crying and very emotional, which was in stark contrast to the male voice, which was overtly measured,” Pratt told investigators. 

He reported the call to Grand County dispatchers. A county sheriff’s deputy and Moab police officer met the couple at the hospital and arrested the man on domestic violence charges that would later be dismissed and expunged.

READ PRATT’S WITNESS STATEMENT:

“I responded to a call of a welfare check due to a phone call received by MCPD Officer Pratt,” the responding deputy, Landon Leavitt, wrote in an incident report. “While I attempted to perform the welfare check, I was advised the parties in question were at the emergency room of Moab Regional Hospital.”

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Leavitt, accompanied by a Moab police officer, arrived at the hospital and interviewed the wife, who had a three-inch, red and purple “lump” next to her right eye and other “bumps” on her left cheek and forehead.

She told police she was in the laundry room at home when her husband “punched her in the stomach” and then in the face. She claimed that next she was “struck in the face by an ‘object’ which she was unable to identify.” She later told prosecutors, however, that “there is more than enough reasonable doubt,” she didn’t remember what happened, and asked for the charges to be dropped.

The man claimed that she had been drinking heavily. He told officers that he didn’t see what happened in the laundry room but heard a “thump” and believed she fell, hit her head and got a concussion.

He was arrested.

READ THE INCIDENT REPORT:

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The man later passed a polygraph test, the charges were dropped on May 1, 2019 – and then expunged that November, the documents show. The couple ultimately split up.

The woman told investigators she had prescriptions for Sertraline, Concerta and Diazepam, and she was accused of drinking heavily that evening.

Pratt deferred comment to a city spokeswoman, who separately said she had no knowledge of the incident and could not supply a statement.

Pratt joined Moab police on July 30, 2018, and left the department “in good standing” on Nov. 7, 2019, according to police emails obtained by Fox News Digital through a public records request. He was re-hired on Dec. 7, 2020, but had “worked part-time for a few months prior to this,” the city’s former assistant chief Braydon Palmer wrote.

READ THE DISMISSAL ORDER:

Pratt was found to have made “unintentional” mistakes along with fellow Moab Officer Daniel Robbins in the Aug. 12, 2021 traffic stop involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie roughly two weeks before the Florida man killed his travel-blogging former fiancee.

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The two decided that witness reports of a domestic violence incident were a “mental health break” and split the couple up for the evening, rather than make an arrest or citation as required under Utah law. Petito was visibly distraught and crying, however the officers decided she was the “aggressor” in the case and that Laundrie, who was calm and joked with them, was the apparent victim of domestic violence.

Moab Police Chief Jared Garcia, who arrived at the department months after the Petito and Laundrie incident, has praised Pratt’s job performance since he came on the job.

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“He’s actually, frankly, an outstanding employee,” Moab Police Chief Jared Garcia, who joined the department long after the Petito case, told Fox News Digital.

The chief said he could not comment specifically on Aug. 12 domestic violence due to pending litigation filed by her family against the city, its police department, Pratt and Robbins, and the city’s former chief and assistant chief.

But he praised Pratt’s performance in regard to the rest of his duties.

“At least in the time that I’ve been here, I’ve been extremely pleased with his effort and his competency,” Garcia said.

A Moab cop investigated for his handling of a 2021 stop involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie once had a man arrested while in an affair with his wife.

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