US cross-country traveller Gabby Petito was strangled, a Wyoming coroner announced today.
etito (22) died three to four weeks before her body was found on September 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 Laundrie, visiting Colorado, Utah and other states.
She was reported missing September 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited national 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.
A “detailed analysis” led to his conclusion Petito was strangled, Blue said.
“Nothing is obvious in a case like this,” he said.
The three to four weeks her body was believed to be in the wilderness put her death around the August 27 to 30 period.
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.
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.