When Georgia Lt. Daniel Peabody discovered on June 10 that he had left his K-9 police dog, a Belgian Malinois named Inca, in his patrol car for nearly three very hot and fatal hours, "Peabody was very distraught ... even to the point where he was transported to the hospital," said Cherokee County Marshal's Office Chief Ron Hunton at the time. But as officials began looking into Inca's death, they found themselves tugging a string that unraveled what the Washington Post terms a "strange story [that] dates to at least 2012." Peabody resigned just days after Inca's death from heatstroke, and as the investigated proceeded, evidence surface that indicated Peabody had shot and killed Dale, the K-9 yellow lab he worked with for five years through 2012, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The Post notes that Peabody was so close to his dogs that he adopted them once they reached retirement age. But on June 22 the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office announced that "Peabody initially claimed Dale’s death was accidental due to Dale choking on a toy. However, the investigation yielded evidence that Dale was in fact shot and killed." Two days prior, investigators had found remains of a dog believed to be Dale buried in the backyard of Peabody's former home—except it wasn't Dale. On Tuesday, the Marshal's Office revealed a forensic veterinarian's findings: The dog likely died as the result of a gunshot, and it wasn't a yellow lab. It's possible the Belgian Malinois' remains belong to Inca's grandmother, reports the Journal-Constitution; the whereabouts of Dale's remains are unknown. Peabody has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and making false statements to law enforcement. CBS46 reports he is out on bond and "no longer talking." (Read more police dog stories.)