After mysteriously disappearing from her job for nearly a month, Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk said she would now take a four-week unpaid leave of absence to battle a “serious episode of depression,” reports the Dallas Morning News. Hawk has been off work since at least Aug. 3 and was expected to return this week. Instead, she issued a statement saying she needs more time to ensure she is healthy so “this does not happen in the future.” She said, “I've decided that it would be in my best interest, and the best interest of the DA's office for me to take a four-week, unpaid leave of absence starting today and give this illness the professional attention it deserves.”
Hawk has had a tumultuous first eight months in office during which she abruptly fired several key staffers, acknowledged seeking help for prescription drug use during her campaign, and took time off while those close to her would not say where she was. Her unexplained absence and her silence as questions mounted fueled concerns in the legal community about her whereabouts and condition. Hawk apologized for creating an “unnecessary distraction” and said she expects to “resume my duties as district attorney once I've recovered from this illness.” Hawk, a former prosecutor and state judge, was sworn in Jan. 1, becoming the county's first female district attorney.