Moab City Police Chief On Leave Amid Internal Probe, Outrage Over Police Response to Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie Domestic Incident

The chief of the Moab City Police department has taken leave days after the announcement of an internal probe to examine the department’s handling of an August 12 incident between Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie.

KUTV reports that Moab City Police Chief Bret Edge had taken Family Medical Leave, effective Monday, September 28. The city’s mayor’s office confirmed the leave but did not say how long Edge was expected to be away from the department. On Thursday, the City of Moab announced a formal review of the Moab Police officers’ response to a report of an altercation between Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, body cam footage and police reports show that officers stopped Laundrie and Petito on August 12 after witnesses reported seeing a possible domestic disturbance between the two. Both the footage and the police report show that officers determined Petito to be the primary aggressor, but ultimately decided not to charge her, characterizing the conflict as a “domestic disturbance.” Petito was found dead on September 19 in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. A medical examiner determined that Petito died of a homicide, but has not yet released the specific cause of death.

Following Petito’s disappearance and death, a recording of a 911 call emerged, showing that one witness said Laundrie hit and slapped Petito during an incident outside an organic food co-op in Moab City. A subsequently released dispatch recording shows that responding officers were told about the report. Additionally, one officer references a second report in the body cam footage: He tells Laundrie he has not yet spoken to the second witness but believes the witness will “probably” say that Laundrie appeared to be the victim, while Petito was the aggressor. It remains unclear if officers ever spoke to the witness who said Laundrie was observed assaulting Petito.

In its statement announcing the internal review, Moab City officials said there was no evidence at that time that the officers had breached protocol.

“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,” the statement read in part.

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