JACKSON, Wyoming. “Cross-country traveler Gabby Petito was strangled to death,” the Wyoming coroner said Tuesday.
Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found on September 19 near an undeveloped camping site on the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue told a news conference.
It is unclear if this determination could lead to additional charges against Petito’s boyfriend and partner, Brian Landry, who is believed to be the person with an interest in her disappearance and remains missing.
Blue declined to disclose more about the autopsy or the case as a whole, saying he was banned by Wyoming law, which limits what coroners can release.
Petito toured the country with laundry, visiting Colorado, Utah, and other states. Her parents reported her missing on September 11 after she did not return calls or text messages for several days while the couple visited national parks in the West.
Blue had previously classified Petito’s death as a homicide, meaning her death was caused by another person, but did not reveal how she was killed, pending further autopsy results.
Blue said a “detailed analysis” led him to conclude that Petito had been strangled.
“In that case, nothing is obvious,” he said.
Blue talked a little more about Petito’s physical condition, including whether she was strangled by someone’s hands, rope, or other object, but noted when asked that she was not pregnant.
Telephone and e-mail messages left by lawyers representing the Petito and Prachechna families asking for cause of death were not immediately returned on Tuesday.
The Petito case has prompted new calls for people to pay more attention to cases of missing indigenous women and other people of color, with some commentators describing the intense coverage of her disappearance as “missing white woman syndrome”.
The search for the laundry has sparked frenzy as television personalities such as Dwayne Chapman, known as the Bounty Hunter Dog, and longtime America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh work to hunt him down.
Petito and Laundry wrote online about their trip in a white Ford Transit van converted into a camper. On August 12, they engaged in a physical altercation in Moab, Utah that resulted in a police stop, which ended with the police deciding to separate the quarreling couple for the night. No charges were filed and no serious injuries were reported.
Investigators searched for a laundry in Florida and also ransacked his parents’ home in North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.
Federal authorities in Wyoming last month accused Laundrie of unauthorized use of a debit card, claiming that it used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to unauthorized withdrawals or write-offs of funds over $ 1,000 during the period when Petito went missing without lead. They did not say who the card belonged to.
In Florida, FBI-led search teams were looking in the vast nature reserve for any sign of laundry. Weeks of searching in the Carlton Wetland Sanctuary south of Sarasota, where Landry’s parents said he had gone after returning home from the West, yielded nothing.