“It makes me sick to my stomach,” Alyssa Chen told People in a new interview published on Wednesday, October 13, following news that Petito’s death was determined to be homicide by strangulation. “I wonder what was going through her mind, knowing she was probably about to die. She must have been so scared.”
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said in a press conference on Tuesday, October 12, that the exact date of Petito’s death was difficult to pinpoint, but he explained that it was roughly around “three to four weeks from the time the body was found” in Wyoming.
Petito was first reported missing on September 11 after she embarked on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, over the summer to document their “van life” adventures. Laundrie, 23, who is named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, has refused to talk to police and is now missing.
“If Brian strangled her, I hope he burns in hell,” Petito’s friend Ben Matula, who also knew Laundrie, told People. “That’s all I have to say.”
Laundrie has not been charged with any involvement in Petito’s homicide, however, police are actively looking for him at this time for questioning. He has not been located despite exhaustive searches in a Florida wildlife preserve, where he was said to have gone hiking on the day he went missing following a camping trip with his parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie.
“Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13,” the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, previously told In Touch in a statement.
As friends and family mourn the loss of Petito, Chen says she is still hopeful there will be justice for her close pal.
“Whoever did this, whether it’s Brian or someone else, needs to pay for what they did,” Chen told the outlet. “She didn’t deserve to die that way.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!