A Wyoming coroner has concluded that a 22-year-old “van life” blogger who went missing while on a road trip with her fiancé was strangled to death.
When Gabby Petito’s corpse was discovered last month in a national park the couple had visited, she had been dead for many weeks, according to coroner Brent Blue.
Brian Laundrie, Ms Petito’s fiancé, is a person of interest in the investigation, although he has been missing since September.
The predicament of the travel influencer caught the attention of the whole world.
She had been using social media to record their nomadic “van life” tour across national parks in the American West.
Her disappearance sparked a debate about how much attention is paid to missing white women.
Ms Petito’s corpse was discovered at a campground with evidence of strangling, Dr Blue said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
According to the coroner, her corpse had been “outside in the woods for three to four weeks” when she was discovered on September 20.
He wouldn’t say whether or not a weapon was used to kill her. He would not reveal the contents of Ms Petito’s toxicology result, but did state that she was not pregnant at the time of her death.
The coroner’s decision comes after an initial post-mortem in September, when he ruled the death a murder, meaning it was caused by someone else.
Ms Petito’s family has been contacted regarding moving her remains.
“Unfortunately, this is only one of many fatalities of individuals involved in domestic violence around the country, and it’s terrible that these other deaths don’t get as much attention as this one,” Dr Blue added.
He described the situation as a “media circus” in the region. From TikTok sleuths to TV celebrities, the case has attracted amateur detectives.
Nearly 90,000 missing people investigations were active by the end of 2020, according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, yet few gain national notice, let alone worldwide media.
Gabby Petito – Who Is She?
Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie embarked on a road journey from her birthplace of Long Island, New York, in July. Both have been using social media to record their journey.
Mr Laundrie came home to Florida alone with their white van on September 1 after a few weeks of touring. On his return, he did not contact the Petito family or the police.
On the 12th of August, police in Moab, Utah, were dispatched to a suspected domestic violence incident involving the couple.
On September 11th, Ms Petito’s family reported her missing.
The Hunt For Brian Laundrie
Mr. Laundrie, the case’s lone person of interest, has yet to be found. His parents claim he went on a trek on September 14th and never returned.
He has not been charged with any crimes in connection with Ms Petito’s death, but the FBI has filed a federal arrest warrant accusing him of illegally using her debit card after she died.
Police dogs, drones, and all-terrain vehicles are being used by police and FBI teams to search the Carlton Reserve, a 24,000-acre county park in Sarasota County, Florida.
Steve Bertolino, the Laundrie family’s lawyer, said on Tuesday that the claims should not be used to blame him for her death.
In a statement to US media, he claimed, “Brian is merely considered a person of interest in regard to Gabby Petito’s death.”
“Brian is still missing at this moment, and whenever he is found, we will deal with the pending fraud accusation against him.”