A TOXICOLOGY report will not be released yet as part of Gabby Petito's autopsy, officials said on Tuesday, as it was revealed the slain vlogger died by strangulation.
The remains of 22-year-old Gabby were discovered at a campsite near Grand Teton Nation Park on September 19. She had been on a cross-country road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie when she vanished in late August.
The manner of her death was ruled a homicide days later but officials withheld her cause of death for several weeks because officials were "exacting" in their examination of the details, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said on Tuesday.
Blue confirmed that Gabby had died by strangulation and said that her body had been in the Wyoming wilderness for three to four weeks before it was found.
He also confirmed that Gabby was not pregnant at the time of her death, but said officials were unable to release a toxicology report at this time.
"It was just a matter of making sure we had everything right," Dr. Blue said of the delay of the cause of death during a press conference.
He declined to comment as to whether Gabby's body showed signs of bruising, or whether it had been buried or left above ground.
"We hereby find the cause and manner of death to be, the cause, death by strangulation, and manner is homicide," Blue said. "By Wyoming state statute, no other information will be released about the autopsy.
"All I can really comment on is is that her body was outside in the wilderness for three to four weeks."
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Blue did disclose that DNA samples had been extracted from Gabby's body.
CNN correspondent Jean Casarez said these samples could be "critically important" in the criminal investigation.
"Prosecutors are very interested in DNA because DNA — foreign DNA on her, meaning not her own DNA, can be critically important, and there are things called defensive strikes, defensive wounds, and they look under the nails to see if there is any foreign DNA," Casarez said.
"If there was anything that could show a perpetrator…was committing an act against her, that DNA could be used" in a criminal case.
Casarez continued that DNA is "the thing that your investigators are really going to use to build an airtight case against the person who killed her."
NO SPECULATION ON CULPRIT
During Tuesday's press conference, Dr. Blue refused to speculate on who police believe killed Gabby.
Her fiance, 23-year-old Laundrie, has been named as a person of interest but isn't publically considered a suspect at this time.
Laundrie is however wanted on bank fraud charges after allegedly racking up a $1,000 debt on a credit card believed to belong to Gabby shortly after she was last heard from.
Following the results of the autopsy, the Laundrie family's attorney, Steve Bertolino, released a statement calling Gabby's "death at such a young age … a tragedy."
"While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise.
"At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him."
HUNT FOR LAUNDRIE
Brian and Gabby, who met in New York before moving to Florida two years ago, were around two months into their planned four-month cross-country road trip touring the US’ national parks before Gabby vanished sometime around August 27.
Brian quietly returned home to Florida alone on September 1, failing to alert police or Gabby’s family that she was missing.
He reportedly acted "without a care in the world" upon his return, neighbors said, mowing the front yard and enjoying idyllic bike rides with his mom.
Gabby was eventually reported missing by her mother in New York on September 11. That came after 10 days of allegedly being stonewalled by Brian and his parents about where her daughter was, she said.
Then, on September 13, Brian allegedly vanished after telling his parents he was going hiking at Carlton Reserve.
But they didn’t report Brian missing until three days later.
A four-week search for Laundrie has so far yielded no leads beyond speculation and a handful of potential sightings.
An investigation into Gabby's murder continues.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:
- June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
- August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
- August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
- August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
- August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
- August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
- September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
- September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
- September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
- September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
- September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
- September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
- September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
- September 26 – Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
- October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.
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