Newly Released Photo Shows Gabby Petito Documenting Face Injuries Before Encountering Moab Police

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were on a cross-country trip when she vanished in late August 2021

A newly released photo appears to show injuries Gabby Petito allegedly sustained before she was stopped by Moab, Utah police officers after a bystander reported witnessing a domestic dispute between her and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie.

The selfie, which was allegedly taken by Petito on her cell phone, was taken in the back of her van in Moab on Aug. 12, 2021.

"I believe she knew she was in trouble and that this crossed the line and she took that picture in the back of the van," family attorney Brian C. Stewart tells PEOPLE.

"According to available data, the image was taken a 4:37 PM, at or before the approximate time of the initial 911 call," attorneys for Petito's parents said.

The photo showed a cut under her left eye, with blood smeared across her cheek and forehead.

Gabby Petito injury selfie
Gabby Petito. Parker & McConkie

A lawsuit filed by Petito's parents, Nichole Schmidt and Joe Petito in November alleged that Petito, 22, showed the injury to one of the responding officers but "he ignored her and did nothing more to investigate or document the injury."

Her parents argued in the lawsuit that their daughter would be alive today had the Moab police officers not mishandled their Aug. 12, 2021, interaction with Laundrie, who killed Petito weeks later.

"It is totally heartbreaking to see her hurt and scared and in need and to have her concerns ignored the way that it was," says Stewart. "We believe that if they followed up and investigated those injuries and asked the questions they should have they would have understood the danger she was in and she would have better understood the danger she was in. We believe she would be alive today if they handled it properly."

Gabby Petito case: Full bodycam video from second Utah officer
Gabby Petito, as seen on body cam footage from Aug. 12, 2021. Moab City Police Department

The city isn't commenting on ongoing or pending litigation, Lisa Church, communications manager for the City of Moab, tells PEOPLE.

Last September, body camera footage of the encounter was released, showing Laundrie unfazed as well as a sobbing Petito, who defended her 23-year-old boyfriend's actions, telling cops she'd hit him in the face during their fight.

In paperwork filed after the incident, police categorized the entire call as a "mental health crisis" rather than an incident of domestic violence.

An independent review of the officers' actions, commissioned by the city of Moab, faulted the police, finding the officers committed "unintentional mistakes that stemmed from the fact that officers failed to cite Ms. Petito for domestic violence," according to a statement on the findings of the review.

Brian Laundrie
Brian Laundrie. gabby petito/ instagram

"The City of Moab sends our sincere condolences to the Petito family. Our hearts go out to them as they continue to deal with the tragic loss of their daughter," the statement said.

Petito and Laundrie were on a cross-country trip when she vanished in late August 2021. She was reported missing on Sept. 11 — 10 days after Laundrie quietly returned to his parents' Florida home without her, but with her van.

Gabby Petito in music video
Gabby Petito. Irreplaceable/Youtube

Authorities searched the Wyoming wilderness for her, and Laundrie was named a person of interest in her disappearance four days before Petito's body was found in Grand Teton National Park. A medical examiner determined she died by homicidal strangulation.

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Laundrie, who vanished around the same time amid nationwide calls for his arrest, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Florida wilderness last October.

Next to his body, authorities found a notebook containing Laundrie's full confession.

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