GABBY PETITO INVESTIGATION

Coroner says Gabby Petito strangled, was killed weeks before her body was found

Oct 12, 2021, 1:15 PM | Updated: Oct 14, 2021, 10:55 am
FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Peti...
FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. Teton County Coroner Brent Blue is scheduled to announce the findings of Petito's autopsy at a news conference early Tuesday, Oct. 12. (Moab Police Department via AP)
(Moab Police Department via AP)

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Cross-country traveler Gabby Petito was strangled to death, a Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday.

Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found Sept. 19 near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said in a news conference.

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.

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.

Petito had been on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend. She was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West.

Blue previously classified Petito’s death as a homicide — meaning her death was caused by another person — but had not disclosed how she was killed pending further autopsy results.

Petito’s case has led to renewed calls for people to pay greater attention to cases involving missing Indigenous women and other people of color, with some commentators describing the intense coverage of her disappearance as “missing white woman syndrome.”

The search for Laundrie has generated a frenzy, with TV personalities like Duane Chapman — known as Dog the Bounty Hunter — and longtime “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh working to track him down.

Petito and Laundrie posted online about their trip in a white Ford Transit van converted into a camper. They got into a physical altercation Aug. 12 in Moab, Utah, that led to a police stop, which ended with police deciding to separate the quarreling couple for the night. No charges were filed, and no serious injuries were reported.

Investigators have searched for Laundrie in Florida and also searched his parents’ home in North Port, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Sarasota.

Federal officials in Wyoming last month charged Laundrie with unauthorized use of a debit card, alleging he used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito went missing. They did not say to whom the card belonged.

In Florida, FBI-led search teams have been looking in a vast nature preserve for any sign of Laundrie. Weeks of searching in the swampy Carlton Reserve south of Sarasota — where Laundrie’s parents say he went after returning home from the West — have turned up nothing.

Laundrie family lawyer Steve Bertolino said in an email there was “nothing new” in the search.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Gabby Petito investigation

A new bodycam footage reveals what Gabby Petito told police about a domestic dispute with fiancé B...
Amanda Musa and Jamiel Lynch, CNN

Gabby Petito’s parents file motion to add Laundrie family attorney as defendant in an ongoing lawsuit

The parents of Gabby Petito have filed a motion to add Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino as a defendant in an ongoing civil lawsuit against Brian Laundrie's parents.
2 months ago
FILE: Gabrielle Petito. (Instagram)...
Sara Weisfeldt and Leyla Santiago, CNN

Gabby Petito’s family awarded $3M in wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s estate

A Sarasota County judge ruled in favor of Gabby Petito's family in a lawsuit against the estate of Brian Laundrie Thursday morning.
3 months ago
(Karah Brackin/KSL TV)...
Emily Ashcraft

Gabby Petito’s family officially files lawsuit against Moab Police Department

Gabby Petito's family filed a lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department on Thursday, seeking $50 million and claiming police negligence "led to Gabby's death."
3 months ago
Gabby Petito (Police photo)...
Debbie Worthen

Moab police say they’ll fight Gabby Petito family’s $50M lawsuit

The city of Moab released its response to Gabby Petito's family's intent to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
3 months ago
(Jackson Police Department)...
Josh Ellis

New video: Gabby Petito seen at Wyoming store shortly before her death

Newly revealed footage shows Gabby Petito shopping with Brian Laundrie at a Whole Foods Market in Wyoming just before her death.
4 months ago
FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Peti...
Eliza Pace

Family of Gabby Petito to file $50M wrongful death lawsuit against Moab PD

Gabby Petito's family announced with their attorneys that they would be filing a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department for the death of their daughter.
6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Coroner says Gabby Petito strangled, was killed weeks before her body was found