‘You don’t want to send information out there’: Lack of information shared by authorities could help find justice for Gabby Petito

National

Officials say more information "could hinder that investigation or prevent you from having a strong prosecution later"

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A major piece of the puzzle behind Gabby Petito‘s death has been released.

The coroner’s office in Wyoming announced Tuesday that Petito was strangled to death. While we know that she was strangled, the coroner would not say if there were any other injuries or trauma related to the strangulation. Wyoming state statutes prevent the coroner from sharing more information about her death.

“As far as the time of death, we are estimating three to four weeks from the time the body was found,” said Dr. Brent Blue, the Teton County coroner.

The Wyoming coroner reports that the body of Petito was found on Sept. 19 outside in the wilderness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. He would not say what state her body was in or if she had been moved when search teams located her. He did, however, confirm that the FBI did take DNA samples.

Police say Petito had not been seen since Aug. 27.

Aside from the cause and manner of death, Wyoming state statute does not allow for the coroner to say much more than that about the autopsy findings.

“Unfortunately this is only one of many deaths around the country of people who are involved in domestic violence and it’s unfortunate that these other deaths should not get as much coverage as this one,” said Dr. Blue.

The attorney for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, told 8 On Your Side, “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.”

8 On Your Side reached out to Gabby’s mother Nichole Schmidt about the Laundrie family attorney’s remarks. She said, “His words are garbage.”

Other evidence was not released, and the FBI is not say anything at this time. Crime experts say staying quiet is vital to the case and to finding justice for Gabby.

“In a high-profile case, the media is constantly looking for information, writing stories, and you don’t want to send information out there. You wouldn’t want people to know. That could hinder that investigation or prevent you from having a strong prosecution later,” said Dr. Shelly Wagers, from the Department of Criminology at USF.

One other fact the coroner released is dispelling some rumors out there in this case: Petito was not pregnant.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie as a person of interest in this case.

Authorities have been in contact with Petito’s family, letting them know first about their findings.

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