On Tuesday, October 12, the Teton County Coroner’s Office held a press conference, announcing the cause of death of Gabby Petito as “death by strangulation and manner of death is death by homicide.” The Teton County Coroner, Dr. Brent Blue, later confirmed it appeared to be a case of “throttling,” suggesting that hands were used to commit the homicide as opposed to other instruments. 

However, the autopsy report was signed on October 5, one week prior to the press conference, raising questions as to why the autopsy results were withheld from the public for so long. 

On Wednesday, October 13, Blue spoke with Brian Entin of NewsNation Now, but said he was unable to go into specifics of the 22-year-old’s injuries, which helped reveal the cause of death due to the ongoing investigation. It was also suggested that the ongoing investigation was the cause for the delay. 

“There [were] indications that Gabby was in a relationship, a domestic relationship, which could play a part in this case, but I don’t have any direct evidence of that,” Blue told Entin. 

Billboard Honoring Gabby Petito
Brittainy Newman/AP/Shutterstock

According to Entin, Blue was encouraged to hold off on going public by a federal prosecutor. “[Blue] said he was holding off on going public because the U.S. attorney asked he please not release it publically until [October 12],” Entin said. “What that means about what was going on behind the scenes, we’re not exactly sure.” 

In July, engaged couple Petito and Brian Laundrie embarked on a cross-country trip, stopping at national parks and documenting their “van life” on social media. However, on September 1, Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida — where he and Petito also lived — alone. 

On September 11, the Long Island native was reported missing by her parents. Sadly, her remains were found eight days later near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, where she was last seen alive. According to Blue, the remains had likely been outside in the wilderness for three to four weeks. 

As for the missing man, Laundrie’s parents reported that they had last seen their son when he went hiking on Tuesday, September 14. However, On October 6, Bertolino texted WFLA stating that the Laundries believe their son left on September 13. They did not report Laundrie missing until September 17.

The search for Laundrie is ongoing. As of Friday, October 15, Laundrie remains a person of interest, but no suspect has been named in Petito’s homicide.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.

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