Last month, news came to light that a travel influencer in the US had gone missing. Sadly, just a few days after being reported missing by her family, Gabby Petito's body was found in a national park in the state of Wyoming.
Now, a coroner has officially ruled the 22-year-old's death as a homicide, citing the cause of death as strangulation. In a conference held on Tuesday 12 October, a medical examiner at the Teton County Coroner's Office confirmed the finding.
Speaking to the press Teton County Coroner, Brent Blue explained that under Wyoming state law he's unable to reveal any further details of the autopsy. He did, however, confirm that her body was outside for three to four weeks before it was discovered. Some media reporters also questioned whether Petito was pregnant at the time of her death, but Blue denied this.
Speaking to the media about the initial body discovery, FBI agent Charles Jones said: "As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for her family." After the news broke, Petito's father, Joseph, took to Twitter to share a photo of his daughter. "#GABBYPETITO she touched the world," he wrote.
— joseph petito (@josephpetito) September 19, 2021
Petito, a 22-year-old YouTube vlogger from Florida, had been travelling around the US with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, around the time she went missing. The couple set out on their trip from New York at the start of July in a converted camper van.
But Petito's family became concerned over her whereabouts after losing contact with her last month. When Petito last spoke to her mother in late August, the couple were staying in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
She was last seen checking out of a hotel with Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 24 August. But Petito's mother, Nicole Schmidt, revealed the last text she received from her daughter implied she was in Yosemite [via Daily Mail], which is over 800-miles away from where she was last sighted.
Her family reported her missing to police at the start of September.
Just a few days later, Laundrie returned alone to his parental home in North Port, Florida, in the van he and Petito had been travelling in.
A spokesperson for the North Port Police Department confirmed they had seized the van. Speaking to Insider, the spokesperson said: "We showed up. We see the vehicle. We take the vehicle. We make an attempt to talk with Brian, and his family declined to make him available, and they gave us the information for his attorney."
Laundrie has since gone missing, with his family confirming they haven't seen or heard from him. Following the discovery of Petito's body, Laundrie's family released a statement. It read: "The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family."
In the days after Petito was reported missing, thousands of comments were left on Laundrie's Instagram and the couple's YouTube account. Protestors also gathered outside the Laundrie family home, chanting "where's Gabby?"
Our thoughts are with the Petito family at this sad time.
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