Gabby Petito coroner reveals officials are unsure if her killer 'used hands or instrument' to strangle her after autopsy
THE Wyoming coroner who performed the autopsy on Gabby Petito has revealed officials are unsure whether she was strangled with an instrument or throttled by her killer's hands.
An autopsy report released Tuesday confirmed Gabby died by "strangulation / throttling" – but the two terms are used to mean different deadly methods, it was said Wednesday.
“Throttling generally means that it was done with human hands as opposed to an instrument,” Teton County Coroner Brent Blue explained.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be, but manual strangulation basically means it was not done with equipment,” he said as part of an interview with NewsNationNow.
Dr Blue added that when it comes to understanding the specific nature of strangulation, the harm to the neck is closely investigated.
“It’s determined by the nature of the injuries around the neck,” he said.
The results of the autopsy were publicly disclosed on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old vlogger's remains were discovered at a campsite near Grand Teton National Park on September 19.
The manner of her death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of death from the autopsy report had been withheld for weeks.
Dr Blue confirmed during the press conference that Gabby died by strangulation during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
He added that Gabby's predicted death was three to four weeks before her body was found.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
The body was outside "in the wilderness" for this time.
DECOMPOSITION SETS IN
On Wednesday, Dr Blue noted that a body lying outside for a lengthy period of time would is prone to decomposition.
“In a situation where any body that is outside whether it’s exposed to the elements and insects and animals – there’s various forms of decomposition,” he said during the interview with NewsNationNow.
“Decomposition usually runs its various course.”
There have been both DNA and toxicology tests that were performed on Gabby’s remains, however those details are not being released while the FBI pursues her killer.
During the press conference the doctor also confirmed that Gabby Petito was not pregnant at the time of her death, tamping down speculation that she may have been.
GABBY FAM WYOMING-BOUND
Following the autopsy, the young woman's body was returned to the mortuary who are dealing with the family at this time, the doctor added.
“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,” Bertolino wrote.
“At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.”
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, didn’t appreciate the lawyer’s statement.
“His words are garbage. Keep talking,” she stated.
Gabby's family set off for Wyoming on Wednesday morning to retrieve her remains.
Once they have her body, they plan to have it cremated before returning to New York this weekend with her ashes.
It is reported that they will also brief her mom, father and stepfather on the latest updates in Gabby's case.
Brian quietly returned home to Florida alone on September 1, failing to alert police or Gabby’s family that she was missing.
The 23-year-old ex-fiancé reportedly acted "without a care in the world" upon his return, neighbors said, performing mundane duties like mowing the front yard and enjoying idyllic bike rides with his mom.
Gabby was eventually reported missing by Nicole Schmidt in New York on September 11.
They turned to authorities after she said they were allegedly getting stonewalled for 10 days by Brian and his parents about where her daughter was, she said.
Then, on September 14, Brian allegedly vanished after telling his parents he was going hiking at Carlton Reserve near Venice, Florida.
But they didn’t report Brian missing until three days later.
FOUR WEEKS AND COUNTING
A four-week search for Brian has so far yielded no leads beyond speculation and a handful of potential sightings.
Brian is not currently considered a suspect in Gabby's murder but is just considered a “person of interest.”
On September 23, the FBI Denver Field Office issued an arrest warrant for Brian.
Two days later, a warrant was issued for Brian's arrest after investigators claimed he had "used unauthorized debit cards after Gabby Petito's death."
The FBI issued an arrest warrant, accusing Brian of swiping a Capital One debit card between August 31 and September 1 that was later confirmed by Bertolino to have belonged to Gabby.
A federal grand jury charged Brian with "knowingly with intent to defraud" using a Capital One debit card in the amount of at least $1,000.
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