(CNN) — A selfie taken by Gabby Petito weeks before her death shows she had facial injuries the day she and her fiancé Brian Laundrie were detained by police investigating a domestic disturbance call, according to her family’s lawyer.
The photo was published Monday by a law office representing the Petito family. The image was incorporated into a lawsuit filed by the family against the City of Moab Police Department in Utah district court in November.
The family’s attorney, Brian Stewart, says the photo, found on Petito’s phone, was taken in the back of his truck on August 12, the same day Moab police stopped the couple as they were traveling for utah.
In the selfie, Petito has a cut on his left cheek with what appears to be a smear of blood over his eyelid, under his eye, and down to the bridge of his nose. He appears to be wearing the same shirt he is wearing in both the photo and body camera video released by Moab police.
Police body camera footage during that arrest shows Moab officers talking with Petito and Laundrie, who then admitted to getting into a fight in which Petito admitted to hitting his fiancé in the first place. Officers noted that Petito had cuts to her face and arm, and she “demonstrated how Brian had violently grabbed her face during their altercation,” telling police that Laundrie “gets very frustrated with me.”
About a month later, Petito’s remains were found in a Wyoming national park. His death was ruled a homicide by manual strangulation.
She and Laundrie had been traveling in a van that summer and Petito had been portraying an idyllic and adventurous trip on social media. But despite the couple’s happy appearance, their relationship seemed to have become strained behind the scenes.
Petito’s family reported him missing in September, launching a nationwide search and drawing a flood of public attention to the case. While authorities were searching for Petito, Laundrie also disappeared. Laundrie’s body was found in a Florida nature preserve in late October along with a notebook in which she admitted to killing Petito, the FBI said. His death was ruled a suicide.
The family’s lawsuit against the City of Moab Police Department and the officers involved in the traffic stop alleges that the department was negligent in its hiring and training practices, and that the officers were negligent in their handling of the report of domestic violence, which ultimately caused Gabby’s death.
Stewart said the photo shows Gabby with a mark from having been “grabbed by the face in such a way that her airway was probably obstructed. Gabby documented the injury and, during her arrest, she attempted to inform Moab officers to no avail. The severity and significance of this type of assault and injury were completely ignored.”
Obstructing a person’s airway qualifies as aggravated assault under the Utah Penal Code, Stewart said, and officers “ignored it.”
CNN reached out to the City of Moab Police Department for comment Tuesday and was told the city “does not comment on matters related to active litigation.”
In November, the city of Moab issued a statement denying responsibility for the death and saying it would defend itself against the lawsuit.
“The death of Gabrielle Petito in Wyoming is a terrible tragedy, and we are deeply saddened by the families of Petito and Schmidt and the painful loss they have suffered. At the same time, it is clear that officers with the City of Moab Police Department are not responsible for the eventual murder of Gabrielle Petito,” the city said, CNN previously reported.
The city also said its officers “acted with kindness, respect, and empathy toward Ms. Petito” during their interaction.
“Our daughter, Gabby, died as a result of intimate partner violence that could and should have been identified by law enforcement using the fatality assessment,” Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said in a statement last week. “We believe that if the lethality assessment had been used correctly in her situation, along with the recommended support and resources, Gabby would still be alive today.”
The Petito family was in Utah to support a bill that passed unanimously by the state Senate, which will require specific training to identify and assess the dangers posed by domestic violence.
CNN’s Eric Levenson, Sara Finch and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.