“The Teton County Coroner’s Office is [issuing] the following verdict: in the death of Gabrielle Venora Petito, we find the cause of death is death by strangulation and manner of death is death by homicide,” Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said during a press conference on Tuesday, October 12. While Dr. Blue could not pinpoint the exact date of Petito’s death, he explained that it may have been about “three to four weeks from the time the body was found.” Dr. Blue also could not comment on the result of the toxicology report, but he did confirm that “Gabby was not pregnant” at the time of her death.
The Long Island native, 22, was reported missing on September 11 after she embarked on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, in July. Laundrie, who is named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, has refused to talk to police and is now missing.
Petito’s best friend, Rose Davis, told The Daily Mail that Laundrie allegedly has “these jealousy issues … He struggles from what Gabby called these ‘episodes,’ where he would hear things and hear voices and wouldn’t sleep.”
“He was always worried she was going to leave him. It was a constant thing to try to get us to stop hanging out,” she further explained. “He’d demand she be home for dinner, often cut our time short. He’d demand to pick her up from my house, even when I had a car and offered to drive.”
Cops stopped the vlogger and her fiancé in Moab, Utah on August 12 after a witness had called 911 claiming they saw the couple in a physical altercation.
When police pulled the couple over, Petito was breathing heavily and crying, while Laundrie seemed composed. According to the bodycam footage, Petito told the police that she and Laundrie had been “fighting.” She also told police that Laundrie didn’t think she could make her travel website successful and described him as a “downer.”
“I just quit my job to travel across the country, and I’m trying to start a blog, a travel blog, so I’ve been building my website,” she said. “I’ve been really stressed, and he doesn’t really believe that I can do any of it.”
Petito was last seen at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming after checking out of a Salt Lake City hotel on August 24.
Details of the “odd” final texts sent from her phone later emerged after cops gained access to a hard drive found in the van they were traveling in.
The text read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said “Stan” was meant to refer to Gabby’s granddad but she rarely called him by that name. Petito’s phone was turned off later that day, the affidavit revealed.
“This whole thing is just so heartbreaking,” Rose added. “It’s so crazy and surreal.”
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