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Gabby Petito's Family Issue Warning After Sleuths Claim Police Ignored Her Signals For Help

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Gabby Petito

Following the disappearance and subsequent discovery of the body of Gabby Petito in August and September of 2021, the entire country became obsessed with the investigation and the search for Brian Laundrie.

Despite all of the eyes on the evidence back then, some internet sleuths think that most people might have missed something during the couple’s stop by police just days before she was last seen alive.

Sleuths believe Gabby Petito made a popular domestic abuse hand signal during the traffic stop.

The hand signal, popularized on TikTok, involves pressing the thumb to the palm before wrapping the rest of the fingers over the thumb.

RELATED: 30 Important Domestic Violence Lessons To Learn From The Gabby Petito Brian Laundrie Case

While some noted the possibility that Petito was making the hand sign at the time, there are those who believe that this crucial detail went largely ignored.

Gabby Petito's family has urged everyone to learn the hand signal in case any other victims use it to ask for help.

While the hand signal was popularized during and after the investigation into Petito’s death, some believe that body camera footage shows Petito using it during the traffic stop.

It is difficult to tell exactly if Gabby Petito made the hand signal.

Petito can be seen gesturing with her hands while initially speaking to officers before the two were asked to get out of their vehicle.

Petito can be seen holding her hand slightly above the car door and curling her fingers downward in a motion reminiscent of the domestic abuse hand signal, but it’s far from conclusive that that was what she intended.

RELATED: Investigation Finds Police Officers In Gabby Petito & Brian Laundrie Incident Made ‘Unintentional Mistakes’

Domestic abuse expert Toni Ann Torrans said that, while she believes that Petito may have been signaling for help, “Law enforcement has a very tough job determining who is the primary aggressor or the victim acting in self-defense. It's very hard to look at those recordings and know what's going on. It's kind of frantic.”

Police determined that Gabby Petito was the primary aggressor during the stop.

It’s shocking, but police at the time didn’t have very much to go off of and when they saw that Laundrie had scratches on his face and Petito admitted that it was her fault, they determined that the best thing to do would be to get Laundrie a hotel room and split them up for the night.

This interaction with law enforcement could have prevented the tragic death of Petito and some blame police for missing the hand signal.

However, the police did separate the two to speak to them separately about the situation and Petito did not take the opportunity to elaborate on any domestic abuse at that time, so it seems as though she might not have actually been reaching out to the officers for help.

Unfortunately, Petito will never be able to explain her intentions on that day so it will largely be up to subjective opinion to determine whether Petito was trying to reach out at that time and whether or not police acted appropriately.

RELATED: Missing Teen Rescued From 61-Year-Old Man Was Not Saved By Using TikTok Hand Signal Despite Sheriff's Claims

Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.