Gabby Petito: Utah police chief takes unexpected leave of absence amid investigation into department’s handling of dispute

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)  — Moab Police Chief Bret Edge has taken an unexpected leave of absence amid an investigation into his department’s handling of a dispute involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, according to a report.

Mayor Emily Niehaus told The Moab Times-Independent Edge took federal Family Medical Leave Act time on Monday, but declined to answer questions related to an Aug. 12 incident involving Laundrie and Petito.

The Moab Police Department came under fire for its handling of a dispute between Petito and Brian Laundrie, which happened weeks before Petito was killed.

Police had responded to a 911 call about a possible domestic violence incident involving the couple. Both Laundrie and Petito had visible injuries, but officers determined Petito was the primary aggressor. They declined to arrest either party and separated the pair for the night.

Moab officials told CNN the department received both praise and criticism for “their response and their resolution of the incident involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie.”

“The Moab City Police Department has clear standards for officer conduct during a possible domestic dispute and our officers are trained to follow those standards and protocol,” the city said. “At this time, the City of Moab is unaware of any breach of Police Department policy during this incident. However, the City will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, will take any next steps that may be appropriate.”

It’s not immediately clear whether Edge’s absence is related to the investigation and when he would return. Niehaus told the Times-Independent the law prevented her from sharing that information.

This story is developing.

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