Gabby Petito was strangled to death, a Wyoming coroner revealed Tuesday.
An autopsy report found that the 22-year-old woman’s cause of death was strangulation, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue told reporters on a
Petito had gone missing during a summer cross-country road trip that the New York native took with her now-missing fiancé Brian Laundrie, who remains the subject of an FBI-led manhunt.
Laundrie family attorney reacts to news Gabby Petito was strangled
Her body was discovered on September 19 at a remote campground in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest near Grand Teton National Park.
Blue, who previously initially determined Petito’s manner of death to be a homicide and confirmed Tuesday that her death is classified as a homicide, said the “initial determination was the body was in the wilderness for three to four weeks” before it was found.
“Nothing is obvious in a situation like this,” Blue said. “Detailed analysis was used both to determine manner and cause of death. I can’t go into details on how we made those decisions.”
Duties and functions
Responsibilities of the coroner may include overseeing the investigation and certification of deaths related to mass disasters that occur within the coroner’s jurisdiction. A coroner’s office typically maintains death records of those who have died within the coroner’s jurisdiction.
The additional roles that a coroner may oversee in judicial investigations may be subject to the attainment of suitable legal and medical qualifications. The qualifications required of a coroner vary significantly between jurisdictions, and are described under the entry for each jurisdiction. Coroners, medical examiners, and forensic pathologists are different professions. They have different roles and responsibilities.
The coroner could not clarify whether Petito died of manual strangulation, saying, “in the state of Wyoming, the autopsy results are not public knowledge.”
Blue would not comment on the toxicology report from the autopsy and confirmed Petito was not pregnant.
Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino released a statement after an autopsy determined Gabby Petito was strangled.
“Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,” Bertolino said. “While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise. At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.”
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue told reporters Petito’s manner of death was homicide.
Blue described conducting a “detailed investigation” with the assistance of the FBI that included a full-body computed tomography scan and examinations by a forensic pathologist and a forensic anthropologist.
“We hereby find the cause of death by strangulation and manner is homicide,” Blue said.
Petito’s body was discovered on Sept. 19 in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson.
Blue said the autopsy determined that Petito’s body had been exposed to the wilderness for three to four weeks. He did not release an exact day investigators believe Petito was killed.
Petito had been on a cross-country road trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie, occasionally posting happy social media photos and stories along the way. But police video soon emerged of problems between them, and officers at one point separated them for a night after a domestic dispute had turned physical.
Laundrie was last seen a few days before Petito’s body was found. He had told his parents he was going hiking in the Carlton Reserve, a sprawling wilderness and wetland area near the Florida home that Laundrie and Petito shared with his parents in North Port. His disappearance prompted a massive, weeks-long search.
“Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,” Bertolino said. “At this time, Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.”
Florida’s North Port police officer Josh Taylor told NewsNationNow last week that he wouldn’t be surprised if Laundrie was dead or alive at this point in their ongoing search.
The Laundrie family attorney recently revealed that his parents believed they last saw him on Sept. 13, a day earlier than they’d previously told investigators. “I don’t know necessarily what to believe anymore,” Taylor told NewsNationNow in response.
“It’s certainly possible that they’re expressing what they know. But we’ll see,” Taylor told the news station. He added that the Laundrie family had joined authorities in the search for their son.