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Gabby Petito was strangled, Wyoming coroner says

Dr. Brent Blue, the coroner of Ten County, Wyoming, talks to reporters Tuesday vis Zoom.
Dr. Brent Blue, the coroner of Ten County, Wyoming, talks to reporters Tuesday vis Zoom.(Teton County, Wyoming Coroner's Office)
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 2:44 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 3:02 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Wyoming (WWSB) - Gabrielle Petito was strangled, a coroner in Wyoming has determined.

In a news conference in Jackson, Wyoming, Tuesday, the Teton County coroner, Dr. Brent Blue said by state statute, no other information can be released. “No other information about the autopsy is released ... Just the cause of death,” Blue said.

Blue did say the body was outside between three and four weeks before it was discovered. The length of time it took to complete the autopsy was simply a matter of being thorough. “We were waiting for various specialists to help us ... Just making sure we had everything right,” he said.

Other details revealed by Blue:

  • Petito was not pregnant at the time of her death.
  • Her remains have been release to a local mortuary in preparation to return her body to the family.

Petito was declared missing Sept. 11 while on a cross-country trek with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

Petito’s body was found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sept. 19. The remains were positively identified Sept. 21 and her death was ruled a homicide.

Laundrie’s involvement in the case has remained a mystery. He returned to his parents’ home in North Port -- alone -- on Sept. 1, driving the van owned by Petito.

Laundrie and his family, on advice of an attorney, initially refused to cooperate with police in their search for Petito. By Sept. 15, Laundrie was named a person of interest in her disappearance.

Laundrie soon disappeared himself, his parents telling police he went hiking in the nearby 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve. He has not been seen since.

A federal judge in Wyoming issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie on Sept. 22 for unauthorized use of a credit card. A massive manhunt has been underway in the reserve and in Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, where the Laundrie family, including Brian, went camping the week after he returned to North Port.

The lawyer for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, released a statement in behalf of the family shortly after the news conference ended. “Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy. 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 fraud charge pending against him,” the statement said.

Stoked by social media posts, reports of possible sightings of Brian Laundrie have been reported from Florida to the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.

The case has generated international interest and drawn the attention of reality TV personalities John Walsh and Dog the Bounty Hunter, who came to the area to join the search for Laundrie.

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