Gabby Petito was found dead but FBI holding back beyond that

National

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JACKSON, Wyoming (ABC4 Utah) – The FBI knows something about how Gabby Petito died but for now, they won’t reveal why they are calling her death a homicide.

On Tuesday, using social media, the FBI Denver confirmed what was suspected since Sunday. The remains found at the Spread Creek campsite in the Bridger-Teton National Forest belonged to Petito.

The FBI also clarified the campsite borders the Grand Teton National Park but her remains were found a few yards into the forest.

The Teton County coroner finished the preliminary autopsy and forwarded his findings to federal authorities.  And while the FBI stated Petito died, the cause of death is pending the final autopsy.

A former Utah medical examiner spoke with our sister station, ABC4, regarding their conclusion.

“(I) don’t know how they can state it’s a homicide without a cause of death unless there is something about how her body was found,” Todd Grey said.

Grey said Petito could have been found bound and gagged or found in a shallow grave. But from the outset, authorities said it was human remains found at the campsite. It remains unclear what condition her remains were in when they found her.

The 22-year-old New York native disappeared in late August during a cross-country trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie. Laundrie, who is from North Port, is still considered a person of interest according to the latest tweets by the FBI. His whereabouts remain unknown.

The news of Petito’s identification and manner of death prompted a short statement from their family attorney Richard Stafford.

The statement said: “I want to personally thank the press and news media for giving the Petito and Schmidt family time to grieve. We will be making a statement when Gabby is home.”

Once the FBI releases her remains, Petito will then go home for a proper burial.

At the Teton County coroner’s office Tuesday, FBI agents were seen taking evidence placed in bags and transporting the bags to their vehicles.  

A man was seen at the coroner’s office and was given personal property. It remained unclear whether he was a Petito family member.

Gray also offered an explanation as to why the cause of death remains uncertain.

“If she is badly decomposed that would make it much more difficult to see and diagnose any subtle signs related to a cause of death that might have been easier to see if she wasn’t decomposed,” Grey told ABC4.

For now, the FBI is seeking the public’s help in solving Petito’s death. On Sunday, the supervisory agent for the FBI offered a public plea.

“We continue to seek information from anyone who utilized the Spread Creek campsite from Aug. 27 to Aug. 30,” said Charles Jones at Sunday’s news conference.  “Anyone who had contact with Gabby or her boyfriend or may have seen her vehicle in that area, please share any information with the FBI.”

FBI Denver’s hotline is 1-800-CALL-FBI. Their field office’s number in Denver is 303-629-7171. They can also be contacted through their email: fbi.gov/petito

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