The chief of the Moab, Utah Police Department decided to take leave, days after the city announced an investigation into the department’s handling of a dispute between Gabby Petito and her fiance Brian Laundrie.
Bret Edge requested leave on Monday under the Family Medical Leave Act, said Lisa Church, the city’s communications manager.
Last week, Moab city officials opened an investigation into the police department that took care of the couple in August, just weeks before Petito was allegedly killed.
The 22-year-old YouTuber’s remains were discovered on September 19 in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, after a week of nationwide searches. His death has been confirmed as a homicide case.
Police officers in Moab interacted with Petito and Mr. Laundrie on August 12 after a passer-by called 911 to report an incident of a domestic argument.
“We walked past and the gentleman was slapping the girl in the face,” the caller said, according to 911 audio from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. “Then we stopped. They walked up and down the sidewalk. He started hitting her, jumped in the car and they drove away. “
Although the police left without laying charges, the incident captured on the body camera showed Petito sobbing and breathing heavily. An officer was seen telling her that they viewed her as the perpetrator and that they were about to file domestic violence charges against her.
Based on the officers’ suggestion, Mr. Laundrie spent the night separately in a hotel while Petito stayed in the van.
City officials said in a statement that the police department had received criticism and praise for “their response and resolution to the incident involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie.”
“The City of Moab Police Department has clear standards for the conduct of officers in a possible domestic conflict and our officers are trained to follow these standards and protocol. At this time, the City of Moab is not aware of any police department policy violations during this incident. However, the City will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, take any next steps that may be appropriate, ”the statement said.
The couple were traveling the country in Petito’s van when she disappeared. Petito’s family declared his disappearance on September 11, 10 days after Mr. Laundrie returned to his family home in Florida.
Meanwhile, Florida police continue to search for Mr. Laundrie in a 25,000-acre nature preserve in Sarasota County, where he fled on September 14. He was uncooperative throughout the investigation and was named as the person of interest in the case.
The Independent Gt