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Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, the 22-year-old travel blogger who went missing and was discovered murdered during a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, died by strangulation, according to a coroner.
Dr. Brent Blue, the Teton County coroner in Wyoming, held a press conference on Tuesday to announce the final autopsy report for Petito.
He said that the cause of the Long Island native's death was strangulation and that the manner was homicide. He divulged that she had been dead for some time before her remains were found on Sept. 19.
“The body was in the wilderness for three to four weeks,” he said.
When asked for specifics by reporters, he said that in the state of Wyoming only the manner and cause of death is released. All other details of the report cannot be revealed.
He did, however, confirm that Petito was not pregnant. Tabloids have fueled recent rumors that she was.
Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11 by her family in New York, 10 days after her boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, returned to his parents' home in Florida without her. The young couple had embarked on a cross-country trip in Petito’s van and while they posted picturesque images of their adventures on social media, their travels were rocky. Weeks before Petito vanished, she and Laundrie were pulled over by police after a witness said he saw Laundrie slapping and chasing Gabby in Moab, Utah on Aug. 12. Officers conducted separate interviews with both Laundrie and Petito, during which Petito acknowledged that Laundrie had hit her, but said, "to be honest, I definitely hit him first.”
Officers declined to make any arrests, instead separating the couple for the night. The city of Moab is now reviewing how officers handled the incident.
Laundrie, a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, has been a fugitive for weeks now.
His parents, who referred law enforcement to their lawyer before Petito’s remains were found, say their son went missing after going for a hike at Florida’s Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve in mid-September. Multiple attempts to find him at that swampy reserve were unsuccessful. There have also been unconfirmed sightings of Brian Laundrie on The Appalachian Trail in North Carolina in the past weeks.
A federal arrest warrant has been issued for Laundrie's arrest for the unauthorized use of a debit or credit card following Petito’s murder, though it doesn't specify whose card he allegedly used. Richard Stafford, an attorney and spokesperson for Petito’s parents and stepparents, alleged during a recent episode of the “Dr. Phil” show that Brian “stole her credit card, he used her credit card to get home and then ran from the police.”
"The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media" will air on Oxygen on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c. It's also available to stream on Peacock now.
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