The police chief of the tourist town of Utah where officers arrested Gabby Petito and her boyfriend weeks before her death has taken a leave of absence.
Moab Police Chief Bret Edge has requested leave which began on Monday, city spokeswoman Lisa Church confirmed on Tuesday. It’s unclear whether his request relates to criticism the department faced over the past week after Petito’s body was discovered in a remote area of northwestern Wyoming.
Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, had a physical altercation on August 12 in Moab, Utah, which led to a police stop over a possible case of domestic violence. In the end, the police decided to separate the couple who were arguing for the night, but no charges were filed and no serious injuries were reported.
Last week, the city of Moab announced it would conduct a formal investigation into the police department’s handling of the conflict.
Petito was reported missing on September 11 by her parents after she did not answer calls and texts for several days as she and Laundrie visited parks in the West. Petito’s death has been classified as homicide, meaning she was killed by another person, but Wyoming forensic scientists have not revealed how she died pending autopsy results.