Gabby Petito, a cross-country traveler, was strangled, according to a Wyoming coroner. Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was discovered near an undeveloped camping area along the Grand Teton National Park border in rural northern Wyoming on September 19, according to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue.
It was unclear whether the decision would lead to more charges against Petito's boyfriend and traveling companion, Brian Laundrie, who is still missing and is considered a person of interest in her disappearance.
Blue said he couldn't say much more about the autopsy or the case in general because of Wyoming law, which restricts what coroners may say, AP News reported.
Gabby Petito died by strangulation
Petito and Laundrie had been on a cross-country road trip, stopping in Colorado, Utah, and other states. Her parents reported her missing on September 11 after she didn't answer her phone or respond to texts for several days when the pair was visiting national parks in the West.
Petito's death had previously been classified as a homicide - meaning she was killed by someone else - but Blue had withheld details about how she died pending autopsy results.
Blue didn't say much more about Petito's physical condition, including if she was strangled directly by someone's hands, a rope, or something else; but she did say she wasn't pregnant when asked.
However, the three to four weeks her remains was thought to be in the woods, placed her death around the time Petito and Laundrie came to the place on August 27-30.
Petito's disappearance has prompted new calls for increased attention to instances involving missing Indigenous women and other people of color, with some commentators referring to her situation as "missing white woman syndrome."
Gabby Petito died by strangulation, according to a coroner; but internet sleuths are pointing to her last seen appearance on police body cam film, claiming Brian Laundrie left bruises on her neck.
Petito, 22, was last seen on a body camera in Moab, Utah, holding her neck and stating that her fiance, Laundrie, had "scratched and grabbed" her, causing bruises.
Brian Laundrie's attorney calls Gabby Petito's death a "tragedy"
Per The Sun, the video in question was taken on August 12 and shows police officers from the Moab Police Department breaking up a physical domestic fight between Petito and Laundrie.
Petito and Laundrie had "engaged in some form of altercation" before police broke them up, according to Officer Eric Pratt's report. Maija Polsey, a family friend of the Petitos, first noticed the bruising, saying, "The cop completely skimmed over what Gabby said, and there was a bruise on her cheek, and she stated he grabbed her."
Petito put her hand to her mouth to repeat how she got the bruises, according to a body language expert, indicating that she was frightened of telling authorities what had happened to her.
Meanwhile, after the Laundrie family attorney asserted that Brian Laundrie is simply a person of interest in the death of Gabby Petito, her mother had some tough comments to say.
"His words are garbage. Keep talking," Nichole Schmidt said on Tuesday, as per Crime Online.
Petito died of strangulation, according to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue, who made the announcement Tuesday. Laundrie's family attorney, Steve Bertolino, stated shortly after the press conference that Brian Laundrie has only been charged with credit card fraud and that he has no other accusations pending against him.
For nearly a month, the Petito family has been pleading for answers. Petito's boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, and Laundrie's parents were sent messages, but no response was returned, according to the Petito family.