October 24, 2021

Gabby Petito case: Autopsy results show 22-year-old was strangled to death; what report could mean for Brian Laundrie

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — There’s now a clearer image of what occurred to Gabby Petito after a coroner mentioned Tuesday that she died by strangulation. However many questions stay unanswered.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue had beforehand dominated Petito’s demise a murder, and although the trigger was revealed Tuesday, he declined to present particulars about Petito’s post-mortem or a possible suspect, saying he was restricted in what data he could legally launch.

Who killed Petito, when she was killed and what occurred main up to her demise stay a thriller.

Despite the fact that there are greater than 90,000 energetic lacking individual circumstances within the US, few met with as a lot urgency and nationwide consideration as that of Petito, who was reported lacking in September 11 and whose stays had been discovered greater than per week later in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton Nationwide Forest.

Authorities are nonetheless looking for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who returned to Florida with out her after their journey throughout the Western US.

Dangerous information for Brian Laundrie

A authorized doc Blue filed on October 5 with the Teton County Clerk of District Courtroom specified that the reason for demise was “manual strangulation/throttling.”

“We believe this was strangling by a human being,” he informed CNN.

Blue declined to reply when requested if he suspects Laundrie is accountable for Petito’s murder, however ABC Information Chief Authorized Analyst Dan Abrams mentioned the results could spell out dangerous information for Laundrie, who has been named by investigators as an individual of curiosity in her demise.

“When you’re talking about strangulation, that is very typically the cause of death in domestic violence cases. It is angry. It is violent. It takes time. That is precisely what many believe happened here,” he mentioned.

Blue mentioned Petito’s physique was left within the wilderness for three to 4 weeks earlier than being discovered, however uncertainty stays in regards to the precise date of her demise.

“That was precisely around the same time that Gabby was last seen alive,” Abrams mentioned.

The post-mortem of Petito’s stays included a whole-body CT scan, an examination by a forensic pathologist and by a forensic anthropologist, and a toxicology evaluation, Blue mentioned on the information convention Tuesday.

The time since her demise and the climate situations she was subjected to make it more durable to pinpoint an actual date of her demise, Blue mentioned.

“There will not be an exact date of death on the death certificate,” the coroner added.

The post-mortem has revealed extra data than was launched however will probably be held again due to the continued investigation, Blue mentioned. He did mentioned Petito was not pregnant on the time of her demise.

Blue mentioned engaged on the case was “quite the media circus and continues to be.” As well as to disappearance and demise, the case has sparked conversations round home violence due to the discharge of physique digital camera footage of an interplay between Petito, Laundrie and the police over one of many couple’s fights.

“Unfortunately, this is only one of many deaths around the country, of people who are involved in domestic violence,” Blue mentioned. “And it’s unfortunate that these other deaths did not get as much coverage as this one.”

Mysterious textual content messages and a police name

The couple had spent the summer time touring in a white van and documenting their adventures on social media. However Laundrie returned to the Florida dwelling they shared together with his mother and father on September 1 with out Petito, and her household was unable to get in contact along with her.

She was first reported lacking by her mother and father on September 11, and after an intensive search, her stays had been discovered September 19 close to the place their van was final seen three weeks earlier. The nationwide give attention to her whereabouts revealed they had been concerned in a home dispute in Utah in August.

From the posts on social media, Petito’s last days appeared idyllic. However after she was reported lacking, accounts surfaced of rising battle between the couple.

WATCH: Monitoring the Gabby Petito disappearanceThe video above is part of TRACKING, a digital video sequence from ABC Information that makes use of social media, public data, mapping and professional evaluation to piece collectively timelines of how main information occasions transpired. Watch extra ABC Information originals right here.

Petito referred to as her mother repeatedly, and people conversations appeared to reveal there was “more and more tension” in Petito’s relationship, in accordance to a police affidavit for a search warrant of an exterior arduous drive discovered within the couple’s van.

On August 27, an “odd text” from Petito anxious her mom that one thing was flawed, in accordance to a search warrant.

“Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” the message learn, in accordance to the affidavit. Stan was a reference to Petito’s grandfather, who her mom mentioned Petito by no means referred to that approach, in accordance to the affidavit.

Alongside their travels, the couple was stopped by police after a 911 caller informed dispatchers August 12 he noticed a person hitting a lady, in accordance to audio supplied by the Grand County Sheriff’s Workplace in Moab, Utah.

“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller mentioned. “Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.”

CNN obtained dispatch audio recordings from the Grand County Sheriff’s workplace final month that shed extra gentle on what Moab police had been informed about “some sort of altercation.”

And on August 27, a witness described a “commotion” as they had been leaving the Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming.

Petito was in tears and Laundrie was visibly offended, going into and out of the restaurant a number of occasions, exhibiting anger towards the employees across the hostess stand, the witness Nina Angelo mentioned.

Angelo informed CNN she didn’t see any violence or bodily altercation between Petito and Laundrie.

The search for Laundrie

Earlier than he disappeared, police in North Port had been surveilling Laundrie as greatest they legally could, a police spokesperson informed CNN’s Randi Kaye.

Investigators mentioned Laundrie’s mother and father informed them on September 17 he had left dwelling days earlier and was headed to the close by Carlton Reserve — sparking a search of the character reserve’s 25,000 acres. Initially, his mother and father mentioned he left on September 14, however final week, Laundrie household lawyer Steven Bertolino mentioned, “We now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13.”

When he left, he did not take his mobile phone and pockets with him, and his mother and father had been involved he may damage himself, a supply shut to Laundrie’s household informed CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

He was later indicted on prices of allegedly utilizing two monetary accounts that didn’t belong to him within the days following her demise.

In an announcement Tuesday, Laundrie’s household lawyer Steve Bertolino mentioned Laundrie had used a debit card that belonged to Petito however famous he was not a suspect in her demise.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2020 Cable Information Community, Inc., a WarnerMedia Firm. All rights reserved.

ABC Owned TV Stations contributed to this report.

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