Wyoming authorities revealed Tuesday that Gabby Petito was strangled to death in late August.
Teton County coroner Dr. Brent Blue simply announced during a 2:30 p.m. press conference that an autopsy showed that Petito, 22, who grew up in Blue Point, died by “strangulation” and “homicide.”
Petito’s boyfriend, with whom she was traveling with, remains a person of interest in the case, police said. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie on Sept. 23, relating to his alleged unauthorized use of a credit card following the death of Petito.
Dr. Blue said Petito’s remains have been turned over “to the mortuary and that the mortuary is dealing with (Petito’s) family at this time.” Petito was killed three to four weeks before her body was found on Sept. 19, Dr. Blue estimated.
The coroner would not comment further on whether the autopsy implicated Laundrie in Petito’s death.
“We are only tasked with determining the cause and manner of death. Who committed the homicide is a question for law enforcement,” Dr. Blue said.
Petito was found Sept. 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest, just a five-minute walk from where her white 2012 Ford Transit van was parked on the side of the road. Regarding the condition of her remains, Dr. Blue simply noted that her body had been left in the wilderness for three to four weeks.
Meanwhile, the FBI-led manhunt for Laundrie, 23, stretched into its fourth week. He was reported missing on Sept. 17.
Petito and Laundrie had been traveling in Wyoming and Utah for months, as part of a cross country trip. The couple — who had been engaged at one point but broke it off — had dated for two years. They were living with Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta in North Port, Florida.
Petitio and Laundrie left Long Island on July 1 for their “van life” trip, with Petito documenting much of it on social video, including Instagram and YouTube. Laundrie returned home Sept. 1 in Petito’s van — without Petito.
Below is an Aug.12 Instgram post in which Petito documents the couple’s visit to Arches National Park in Utah. That same day, police responded to an emergency 911 call reporting that Laundrie was seen slapping Petito.
Local police pulled the couple over in Petito’s van near the entrance to the park. After more than an hour of speaking with Petito and Laundrie about their fight in separate conversations recorded on police body cams, police decided to separate the couple for the night. Police, who nearly arrested the 115-pound Petito as “the aggressor,” brought Laundrie to a motel, while Petito stayed with the van.
The last time Petito was believed to have been seen alive was on Aug. 27 at The Merry Piglets Mexican Grill in Jackson, Wyoming. The Tex-Mex eatery issued a confirmation that Petito and Laundrie dined in the restaurant, hours after another diner took to social media to report she and her boyfriend had witnessed Laundrie engaged in an extensive argument with Merry Piglets staffers.
That same day vloggers Jenn and Kyle Bethune of Tampa, Florida, captured video footage of Petito’s van parked on the side of the road in Bridger-Teton National Forest. The evidence helped lead searchers to the location of Petito’s body.
Vloggers happen to record van footage
Demand for justice continues in North Port, Florida
Protesters on behalf of Petito have been stationed outside Laundrie’s home for the last month, demanding answers from Laundrie’s parents Chris and Roberta, formerly of Blue Point.
Top photo: Instagram/@gabpetito