A Wyoming medical examiner said on Tuesday that Gabby Petito died of strangulation about three to four weeks before her body was found.
The latest development in the story that made national headlines comes as law enforcement officials continue to scour a Florida natural preserve for any signs of Brian Laundrie, the man who was on a cross country trip with Petito when she disappeared.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue reported his findings in a virtual media briefing.
“After a detailed investigation by our forensic pathologist, our anthropologist and local law enforcement, with assistance from the FBI, the Teton County Coroner Office is filing the following verdict in the death of Gabrielle Venora Petito. We hereby find the cause and manner of death to be: the cause, death by strangulation, and manner is homicide,” said Blue.
Authorities had previously revealed that the manner of death in Petito’s demise had been determined to be homicide.
“By Wyoming state statute only the cause and manner of death are released,” Blue continued. “There are autopsy findings and photographs and that sort of material is not released by state statute.”
He went on to say that Petito was not pregnant at the time of her death.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie over the alleged fraudulent use of a credit card after the death of Petito, but authorities have no said if that card belonged to her.
Authorities are searching the 25,000 acres of the Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve near the home of Laundrie’s parents in Florida. His family told authorities that he told them he was going for a hike in the swampy reserve and he never returned.
Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11, more than a week after Laundrie returned from their trip without her. He did not cooperate with authorities about her disappearance. Petito had been documenting their travels on social media as a part of her online business.
Laundrie’s father is helping authorities in their search for his son.
“Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve,” said an attorney representing the family.
“Although Chris and Roberta Laundrie provided this information verbally three weeks ago it is now thought that on-site assistance may be better,” the statement added. “The preserve has been closed to the public and the Laundries as well but the parents have been cooperating since the search began.”
Here’s a news video about the development:
Gabby Petito died by strangualtion, coroner rules