Gabby Petito homicide: Coroner says exact day of death may never be known

National

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Teton County, Wyoming, coroner announced that the autopsy ruling for Gabby Petito was a homicide, by strangulation.

“After a detailed investigation by our forensic pathologist, our anthropologist, and local law enforcement and assistance by the FBI, the Teton County Coroner’s Office is filing the following verdict. In the manner of death of Gabrielle Venora Petito, we find the cause and manner to be cause: death by strangulation, and the manner is homicide,” Dr. Brent Blue, the Teton County coroner, said.

Wyoming state statutes prevented Blue from providing many additional details about Petito’s death.

Responding to questions about her remains, Blue said Petito’s body had been sent to the mortuary, that was dealing with the family and how to get her home.

The time of death is estimated to be three to four weeks before her body was found, according to Blue.

“Our initial determination is that the body was in the wilderness for three to four weeks,” Blue said. “The death certificate has not been completed at this time, and death certificates in the state of Wyoming allow for approximate dates and a variability in those dates. I doubt there will be an exact date of death on the death certificate.”

Blue said, in response to a question by media, no other information about the autopsy would be disclosed according to Wyoming state statutes.

Despite repeated questions, Blue would not comment on his thoughts about who the killer could be, and would not comment on whether or not he thought Petito was killed by her fiancée Brian Laundrie. Blue said it was up to law enforcement to make that determination. The coroner’s office is only charged with determining cause and manner of death.

Regarding the month-long process for autopsy, Blue said the examination “was very exacting” with a focus on detail and waiting on a variety of specialists to assist in the investigation. They waited for toxicology to be returned and to make sure “we had everything right,” according to Blue.

Blue confirmed that DNA samples were taken by law enforcement, and responding to questions about the body’s condition only said that Petito’s remains “were outside for three to four weeks.”

Blue could not answer questions about whether or not Petito’s body was found buried or exposed to the elements, instead referring the question to law enforcement agents and members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Petito was not pregnant at the time of her death, according to Blue.

Blue said the toxicology report was not public information, and could not comment on it. He did confirm that a full-body CAT scan was conducted, as well as a full forensic examination.

“It covered pretty much all the bases,” Blue said.

Responding to the autopsy ruling, Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino provided the following statement to 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi:

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. 

Statement from Steven Bertolino

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