The autopsy report on Gabby Petito, the social media influencer who mysteriously disappeared in the middle of a road trip a month ago, has been officially released by the Teton County Coroner’s Office, with key details announced during a Tuesday press conference. The coroner confirmed the initial ruling of Petito’s death as a homicide and further found that she was killed via strangulation, and also noted that she was not pregnant at her time of death.
The autopsy estimates her death to have occurred three to four weeks before her remains were found on September 19 in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, where she and fiancé Brian Laundrie were camping in their van just before he came home without her. Petito’s family last had contact with her on August 24, close to four weeks before her body was discovered.
Dr. Brent Blue, the Teton County coroner, did not make a statement on how Petito was strangled or reveal the results of the toxicology test conducted on her remains.
Laundrie remains at large after going into hiding following widespread allegations of murder, according to his lawyers, and after his family refused to speak with police or Petito’s family on her disappearance. Petito’s parents reported her as a missing person on September 11 after he showed up at his own parents’ place without her on September 1.
Close to the same time as the press conference on the coroner’s findings, the Laundrie family attorney asserted during an interview that neither he nor anyone else is required to tell the police or FBI if they know where he or any other person of interest is hiding.
“When it comes to affirmatively telling law enforcement where someone is, no one is required to do so,” said Dave Aronberg. “Now, don’t even think of it in terms of Brian’s lawyer or not – no one is required to go to a police officer affirmatively to a police officer and say, ‘Hey, I know where he is.'”
Laundrie remains a “person of interest” in the Petito case but also faces a warrant for his arrest related to alleged bank card fraud. Authorities appear to have had little luck in locating the surviving fiancé or are keeping the information from the public.
Another Laundrie family lawyer, Steven Bertolino, responded to the official coroner’s report findings by calling Petito’s death a “tragedy” while stressing that his client is still not yet charged with her murder.
“Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,” he said. “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.”
Petito is just one of many thousands of women who go missing or turn up dead every year in the U.S., with the vast majority being overlooked by media and the public and also, definitely not coincidentally, disproportionately being women of color.