GABBY Petito’s family have urged people to learn a hand gesture when dealing with domestic violence – months after online sleuths claimed the vlogger asked for help during a police stop.
The Gabby Petito Foundation has shared the story online of a Tennessee woman who used the gesture to inform a cashier of her alleged kidnapping.
A message read: “This hand signal works!! We’ve heard a few rescue stories because of this.
A woman, believed to have been kidnapped, was rescued by police on Sunday after using the gesture.
She was visiting her brother on Sunday when her ex-partner Johnathon Smith, 31, arrived in his car.
Lt. Mike Doddo told The Tennessean that she got into the vehicle before the pair got involved in a “physical altercation.”
She reportedly asked Smith to get out of the car, but he refused.
The couple then stopped at a gas station before waving at the worker.
The woman put her palm outward. She tucked her thumb in and closed her four fingers over it, prompting staff to call 911.
Smith seemed to know the meaning of the signal and left the store with the woman.
The cops followed Smith’s truck before it crashed. He was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault.
Detectives claimed Petito used the exact same gesture when she and Brian Laundrie were questioned by cops in Moab, Utah in August 2021.
The couple were arrested after witnesses claimed to have seen them fighting.
She appeared to have marks and bruises on her face and arms.
Detectives claimed Gabby used the hand signal when being questioned.
A TikTok commenter claimed the cops “didn’t realize” Gabby was making the signal.
Another said: “The fact that she started crying even more when she did just hurt her.
While a third posted: “Gabby gave this sign to Moab police [and] they did nothing.”
Speaking to KSAZ, Penelope House executive director Toni Ann Torrans said she believed Gabby was desperately trying to ask for help.
She stressed that domestic violence “knows no bounds”.
Torrans said: “Law enforcement has a very difficult job determining who is the primary aggressor or the victim acting in self-defence.
“It’s very difficult to watch these recordings and know what’s going on. It’s a bit frenetic.
“So you can probably read there whatever you want to read there in terms of what she may or may not have done.
“But at the end of the day, I think people need to understand – again – that there’s a lot of domestic violence in our communities and often domestic violence escalates into a situation where there’s a homicide.”
The Sun requested a comment from Moab police but did not receive a response.
Officers have not confirmed that Gabby was gesturing for help.
The traffic stoppage came just days before Gabby and Laundrie were last seen in Wyoming on August 27.
Gabby’s body was found on September 19 in Grand Teton National Park.
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