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Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced Tuesday that Gabby Petito died by strangulation. Blue said there are multiple details he cannot reveal from the autopsy yet.
“All I can really comment on is that her body was outside in the wilderness for three to four weeks,” said Blue at the press conference.
Blue declined to say whether the body had bruising or had been buried or left above ground. He added that Petito was not pregnant at the time of her death, as some had speculated.
As to why the department withheld Petito’s cause of death after ruling it a homicide on September 22, Blue said officials were “exacting” in their examination of the details.
“It was just a matter of making sure we had everything right,” he notes.
In the meantime, police continue to waste time searching for Brian Laundrie, Petito’s fugitive fiancé, in the Carlton Reserve, at his parents’ suggestion. We discussed the manhunt for Laundrie earlier this week:
Put me down that Laundrie is far away from the state of Florida at this point. The timeline of Laundrie’s disappearance suggests his parents bought him time to get on the move before they reported him missing. Laundrie likely had several days to run before the police began searching for him.
The Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County, Florida remains a key point in this story. On September 6, the same day that Laundrie returned home from the infamous summer road trip in Gabby Petito’s van but without Gabby Petito, records show that Laundrie and his parents camped at the park and remained there until September 8. About a week later on September 17th, the Laundries reported Brian missing. In other words, his parents likely knew something by the time they camped in Fort De Soto Park.
The coroner ruled Petito’s death a homicide on September 22, days after the police found her body in Wyoming, and August 24 is the last day Petito can be confirmed alive. She can be seen in a videotape leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Though Petito’s mother received a text from Gabby’s phone number on August 30, her family doubts that it came from Gabby. If they are right that she had already died by August 30, then she died at least a week before the Laundries’ camping trip to Fort De Soto.
So what did the Laundrie do at that park between September 6 and September 8?
The worst part is that the search for Laundrie takes attention away from honoring Gabby’s Petito life.
Prayers up for the Petito family.