Gabby Petito’s cause of death was strangulation, coroner determines

Gabby Petito died by strangulation at the least three weeks earlier than her stays have been discovered, a Wyoming coroner mentioned Tuesday, as a nationwide manhunt persevered for the lady’s lacking fiancé.

The Lengthy Island girl’s physique was found on Sept. 19 on the Unfold Creek Dispersed Tenting Space in Bridger-Teton Nationwide Forest, and Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue had beforehand dominated her loss of life a murder.

However the 22-year-old’s official reason behind loss of life wasn’t disclosed till Tuesday, although Blue cited state regulation in limiting the quantity of knowledge he may share.

“Our preliminary willpower is the physique was within the wilderness for 3 to 4 weeks” earlier than she was discovered, Blue advised reporters, which might place her time of loss of life in mid to late August.

All through his assembly with reporters, Blue sidestepped questions on who may have been chargeable for the lady’s loss of life. However the coroner did seem to suggest that Petito was a sufferer of home violence.

“This is just one of many deaths across the nation of people who find themselves concerned in home violence and it’s unlucky that these different deaths don’t get as a lot protection as this one,” Blue mentioned.

Steven Bertolino, an lawyer or Laundrie’s household, reiterated that Brian Laundrie shouldn’t be a suspect in Petito’s disappearance or loss of life.

“Gabby Petito’s loss of life at such a younger age is a tragedy,” Bertolino, mentioned in a press release on Tuesday afternoon.

“Whereas Brian Laundrie is presently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is barely thought of an individual of curiosity in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise. At the moment Brian continues to be lacking and when he’s positioned we are going to tackle the pending fraud cost towards him.”

Petito and Laundrie have been on a cross-country highway journey, chronicling their travels on social media, earlier than he returned to his mother and father’ house in North Port, Florida, arriving there on Sept. 1 with out his fiancée, police mentioned.

The lady’s household reported her lacking on Sept. 11 and Laundrie himself quickly vanished as effectively.

Laundrie’s household advised investigators he had gone climbing on Sept. 14 within the Carlton Reserve in Florida and by no means returned. Legislation enforcement searched the 25,000-acre wildlife refuge a number of instances in search of him.

There have been quite a few reported sightings of Laundrie up and down the East Coast since.

Police have so far solely referred to as Laundrie a “individual of curiosity” of their investigation into Petito’s disappearance, however there may be an arrest warrant out for him after authorities mentioned he used her debit card with out permission.

Additionally final month, the Grand County Sheriff’s Workplace in Utah launched 911 audio from a witness who mentioned he noticed a person slap a girl after which noticed a white Ford Transit van bearing a Florida license plate drive away.

The 911 name led Moab police to cease the van — pushed by Laundrie, with Petito as a passenger — on Aug. 12.

The incident seemed to be a psychological and emotional “break,” police mentioned, writing that Petito had slapped Laundrie. They compelled the couple to separate for the night time to keep away from a case of home assault towards Petito.

The extraordinary give attention to Petito’s disappearance raised questions in regards to the lack of comparable information protection of lacking people who find themselves not white.

The disparity in nationwide consideration has been significantly infuriating to close by Indigenous communities, the place scores of Native American girls have gone lacking with little or no information protection.

This can be a growing story, please refresh right here for updates.

Alec Hernandez and Pei-Sze Cheng contributed.

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