The Wyoming medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Gabby Petito said Tuesday that the 22-year-old’s death was caused by strangulation.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue made the announcement during a virtual news conference.
“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,” he said.
Blue initially ruled Petito’s manner of death a homicide pending final autopsy results.
He said that law enforcement took DNA samples from Petito’s body and that she was not pregnant.
The time of death was estimated to be three to four weeks before Petito’s body was found, Blue said.
He added that under Wyoming state law, only cause and manner of death are released after an autopsy is conducted, and said that no other information about her death would be released.
Petito’s body was discovered in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area of Bridger-Teton National Forest, near Grand Teton National Park, on Sept. 19 — eight days after her family reported her missing and nearly three weeks after her 23-year-old fiancé, Brian Laundrie, returned home from a cross-country road trip without her.
Laundrie was called a person of interest by police in North Port, Fla., where he and Petito lived with Laundrie’s parents before embarking on their trip. Laundrie’s parents reported him missing on Sept. 17, four days after they told police he told them he was going for a hike in a nearby nature reserve.
Authorities have been scouring the 24,565-acre Carlton Reserve for Laundrie ever since. There have also been unconfirmed sightings of Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail, in Canada and in Mexico.