CHEYENNE (Wyo.) – A Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday that cross-country traveler Gabby Peto had been strangled.
Petito, 22 years old, died about three to four weeks prior to her body being found near a undeveloped camping area in remote northern Wyoming.
It was not clear whether the determination would lead to additional charges against Petito’s boyfriend and traveling companion, Brian Laundrie. He is still unaccounted for and is being considered a person-of-interest in her disappearance.
Blue refused to speak more about the autopsy and the entire case, stating that Wyoming law limits the information that coroners can release.
Petito was on a cross-country journey with Laundrie. They visited Colorado, Utah, and other states. After she failed to respond to several texts and calls for several days, her parents reported Petito missing on Sept. 11.
Blue had previously considered Petito’s death a homicide, meaning that her death was caused or contributed to by another person. However, she did not disclose how Petito was killed until further autopsy results were available.
Blue stated that he did a “detailed analysis” and concluded Petito had been strangled.
He said, “Nothing is evident in a case such as this.”
Blue didn’t say much more about Petito’s condition, including whether she was strangled by someone’s hands or a rope. However, she did note that Petito wasn’t pregnant when she was asked.
Her body was thought to have been in the wilderness for three to four weeks. However, her death occurred around the August 27-30 period. Investigators believe Petito or Laundrie had traveled to this area.
Petito’s disappearance has prompted renewed calls for people who are concerned about missing Indigenous women to pay more attention. Some commentators have described the intense coverage as “missing white woman syndrome”
Laundrie’s search has sparked a frenzy with TV personalities such as Duane Chapman, also known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, and John Walsh, long-time host of “America’s Most Wanted”, working together to find him.
Petito and Laundrie shared their journey in a Ford Transit van that was converted into a campervan. The couple got into an altercation in Moab on Aug. 12, which led to a stop by police. Police decided to seperate the two quarreling couples for the night. There were no reports of serious injuries or charges.
Investigators searched Florida for Laundrie and North Port, 35 miles (56 km) south of Sarasota.
Last month, Wyoming federal officials charged Laundrie in connection with the unauthorized use of a debit card. He claimed that he used Capital One Bank’s card and someone else’s personal ID number to make unauthorized withdrawals. They didn’t say who the card belonged to.
Steven Bertolino (the attorney representing the Laundrie families) answered questions about the coroner’s decision. He stated that his client faces only the fraud charge in this case.
Bertolino stated that Brian is still missing at the moment and that if he is found, we will deal with the fraud charge against him.
FBI-led search teams in Florida have been searching a vast natural preserve for signs of Laundrie. After searching for Laundrie’s remains in the swampy Carlton Reserve south Sarasota, where his parents claim he went to after returning from the West, it has been weeks since nothing was found.