Gabby Petito strangled, died 3-4 weeks before being found, coroner says

Long-distance traveler Gabby Petito has been strangled to death, a Wyoming coroner said Tuesday.

Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found on September 19 near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in northern Wyoming, said Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue at a press conference.

It was not clear whether the decision could lead to additional charges against Petito’s boyfriend and travel partner Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in his disappearance and who remains missing.

Blue declined to say more about the autopsy or the case as a whole, saying he was barred from doing so by Wyoming law which limits what coroners can disclose.

Petito had taken a trip across the country with his boyfriend. She was reported missing on September 11 by her parents after she did not answer calls and texts for several days as the couple visited parks in the West.

Blue previously classified Petito’s death as a homicide – meaning his death was caused by someone else – but had not disclosed how she was killed while awaiting the autopsy results.

Petito’s case has led to new calls for people to pay more attention to cases involving missing Indigenous women and other people of color, with some commentators calling the intense coverage of his disappearance “white woman syndrome.” disappeared ”.

The search for Laundrie sparked a frenzy, with TV personalities like Duane Chapman _ known as Dog the Bounty Hunter _ and longtime “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh scrambling to find him.

Petito and Laundrie posted online about their trip in a white Ford Transit van converted to an RV. They had a physical altercation on August 12 in Moab, Utah, which led to a police arraignment, which ended with the police decision to separate the couple who were arguing for the night. No charges have been laid and no serious injuries have been reported.

Investigators searched for Laundrie in Florida and also searched her parents’ home in North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.

Wyoming federal officials last month accused Laundrie of unauthorized use of a debit card, alleging he used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make withdrawals or unauthorized charges valued at more than $ 1,000 during the period in which Petito disappeared. They did not say who owned the card.

In Florida, FBI-led search teams searched a large nature reserve for signs of laundry. Weeks of searching the Carlton Swamp Reserve south of Sarasota – where Laundrie’s parents say he went after he returned from the West – has yielded nothing.

Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino said in an email that there was “nothing new” in the research.