Cross-country traveler Gabby Petito was strangled, a Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday.
Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found Sept. 19 near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said in a news conference.
It wasn’t clear if the determination might lead to additional charges against Petito’s boyfriend and traveling partner, Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance and remains unaccounted for.
Blue declined to say more about the autopsy or the case overall, saying he was prevented by Wyoming law that limits what coroners can release.
Petito had been on a cross-country trip with Laundrie, visiting Colorado, Utah and other states. She was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited national parks in the West.
Gabby Petito was strangled to death, coroner says
Gabby Petito died by strangulation three to four weeks before her body was found, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said at a Tuesday news conference.
Blue declined to speculate whether he believed her boyfriend at the time, Brian Laundrie, was involved. “We are only tasked with cause and manner of death,” he said. “Who committed the homicide is up to law enforcement.”
He said only the cause of death, strangulation, and manner of death, homicide, would be released, per Wyoming law. Blue first ruled the death a homicide on Sept. 21.
“In a situation like this, nothing is obvious, so the cause of death required investigation,” he said.
The Wyoming coroner said it took weeks to deliver the final report because of how meticulous the examination was. Blue said they performed a whole body CAT scan and toxicology tests, and a forensic pathologist and anthropologist were also involved.
Blue said Petito was not pregnant when she died, but otherwise declined to answer most of the questions reporters asked. When asked what effect the elements may have had on the condition of Petito’s body, he said, “All I can comment on that, is her body was out in the wilderness for three to four weeks.”
Killing of Gabby Petito
Between August 27 and 30, 2021, Gabrielle Venora Petito, a 22-year-old American woman, disappeared while she was on a vanlife trip across the United States with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.
On September 19, 2021, a few weeks after Laundrie drove the couple’s vehicle from Wyoming to Florida alone, and refused to talk about Petito’s whereabouts, her remains were found at Bridger–Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Her death was determined to have occurred three to four weeks before her body was found with the cause being homicide by strangulation.
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