Gabby Petito died by strangulation: Coroner

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Gabby Petito's autopsy revealed, questions remain
Nearly one month after her body was found in Wyoming, the coroner announced that Gabby Petito died by strangulation.

WYOMING (WABC) -- Gabby Petito died by strangulation weeks before her body was found, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced on Tuesday.

According to the coroner's report obtained by ABC News, the cause and manner of death of Gabby Petito was "manual strangulation and throttling."

Blue said her estimated time of death is believed to be 3-4 weeks from time her body was found.

WATCH | Special Report: Gabby Petito's autopsy revealed, but questions linger

How Gabby Petito died is revealed as the manhunt for Brian Laundrie goes on. Watch an Eyewitness News update.

Blue declined to say more about the autopsy or the case overall, saying he was prevented by Wyoming law that limits what coroners can release. However, at one point he referred to Petito's death as "only one of many deaths around the country of people who are involved in domestic violence."

It wasn't clear if the determination might lead to additional charges against Petito's boyfriend and traveling partner, Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance and remains unaccounted for.

After the announcement was made, the attorney for Laundrie's family released the following statement:

"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 pending fraud charge against him."

Petito's mom, Nichole Schmidt, responded to Laundrie's family attorney Steven Bertolino's statement, saying "His words are garbage. Keep talking."

Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce spoke to Eyewitness News about the investigation and Laundrie's involvement.

"He's the only focus of the investigation. You can call him anything you want, but he is the main person right now," former NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said. "There's a lot of circumstantial evidence. And if you collect a lot, it's compelling evidence and that's what we're seeing right now."

The 22-year-old's body was originally discovered at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 19.

Brian Laundrie remained missing Friday after the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a warrant on Wednesday, related to Laundrie's activities following the death of Gabby Petito.

The FBI said she was found by law enforcement agents who had spent several days searching the campgrounds.

The coroner's initial determination was that Petito's death was a homicide, but the cause of death remained pending final autopsy results.

WATCH | Coroner's full press conference:

Watch the full press conference with Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue on Gabby Petito's autopsy results.

The new details come as law enforcement continues their search for Petito's fiancé Brian Laundrie.

Laundrie's father joined in the search for his son on Thursday.

Brian Laundrie's father helped law enforcement search for his son in connection with the Gabby Petito case.

Law enforcement wanted Chris Laundrie to direct them within the Carlton Reserve to a spot where he claims Brian might be hiding.

The family's attorney Steven Bertolino said Laundrie's parents last saw him on September 13 and not the following day, as they originally told police.

They say he went to go on a hike.

"The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events," Bertolino said. "Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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