TETON COUNTY, Wyoming, Oct. 12, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Homicide victim Gabrielle Petito died of strangulation, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced Tuesday.
“We find the cause of matter the cause of death by strangulation, and manner is homicide,” Blue said at a news conference.
Blue said his estimate is that Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found. Asked about evidence of previous injuries, Blue said Wyoming law prevents him from detailing additional details beyond cause and manner of death.
Three to four weeks before Petito’s body was discovered would have been in the approximate time period of Aug. 21 through 28.
Blue did confirm that Petito was not pregnant.
Blue said the time required for the final results was due to his department being “very exacting in our examination and the detail by which that examination was done. We were waiting for various specialists to come in and help us with this investigation. We were waiting on toxicology, to be returned. And it was just a matter of making sure we have everything all right.”
Asked if investigators had collected evidence from the body, Blue confirmed that officials did collect DNA samples.
Officials had confirmed on Sept. 21 the human remains found in Grand Teton National Park were those of the missing woman, and her manner of death was homicide.
Brian Laundrie, 23, has been named a person of interest in Petito’s murder. The couple, who shared a home with Laundrie’s parents in Florida, had been traveling across the western U.S., including stops in Utah, before Petito’s disappearance near the end of August.
Laundrie returned home on Sept. 1, driving Petito’s van, but without her. Petito was reported missing by her parents on Sept. 11.
Through their attorney, the Laundries immediately declined to cooperate with authorities. Days later, on Sept. 17, the parents contacted investigators and said son Brian had gone missing on Sept. 14, and may have been headed to the Carlton Reserve, a 24,565-acre nature preserve in Florida’s Sarasota County.
On Sept. 19 in Wyoming, FBI agents found the remains believed to be Petito’s in an area where the couple had been camping in Grand Teton National Park.
Authorities have not officially classified Laundrie as a suspect in Petito’s death. They have issued a federal arrest warrant accusing him of illegally using another person’s debit card, the card owner being Petito.
Officials said last Wednesday night they found the remnants of a campsite that appeared to have been recently used at the Carlton Reserve, which has hiking paths and areas of swamp. They since stated they have found no physical evidence directly linking Laundrie to any of the areas they searched so far.
If you have any information in this case or know Laundrie’s whereabouts, you’re asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.