Gabby Petito was strangled to death, coroner says

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(NewsNation Now) — 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.”

He also noted the attention this case is getting online and in the media. “It’s unfortunate all deaths don’t get as much coverage as this one,” he said.

“Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,” the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, said in a statement to NewsNation. “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.”

Petito vanished while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a converted camper van. The trip was well-documented on social media until it abruptly ceased, allegedly somewhere in Wyoming. The couple documented most of their trip, which started in July, on a YouTube Vlog called “VAN LIFE”.

Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days. Petito’s body was found Sept. 19 just outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

It has been weeks since any firm new details emerged in the case as authorities search for Petito’s boyfriend. Brian Laundrie’s parents say they last saw him Sept. 13 when they said he took the car to a 24,000-acre Florida reserve. He was reported missing Sept. 17.

Despite searching for nearly a month in the Carlton Reserve, police have not found him or even said they’ve found clues.

“We need to find something,” North Port police Officer Josh Taylor told NewsNationNow.com Friday. “I think there’s so much attention on this. I don’t know that this case would ever get to be a cold case. We’ll continue to search. You know, we could be searching that Carlton Reserve and nearby lands for a long, long time.”

The FBI has issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie. He is wanted for “use of unauthorized access device” related to his activities following Petito’s death. The FBI says he used a debit card and a PIN to access two bank accounts Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.

You can watch the full news conference in the player below.

You can read the Teton County coroner’s full report below.

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