Authorities are set to reveal how Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, died. They previously announced the “initial determination” was homicide but did not reveal the cause of death. Meanwhile, police are still looking for her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, who cops say returned to Florida alone while she was missing. Investigators found Petito’s remains in Teton County, Wyoming.
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“Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999,” FBI Denver wrote in a tweet on Sept. 21. “Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.”
Petito and Laundrie had gone on a cross-country trip, but a Aug. 12 police call in Moab, Utah, belied their idyllic social media activity. A witness told 911 that Laundrie slapped Petito. Cops determined the couple had been in a fight and Petito struck first, but they considered this a mental health issue instead of a domestic incident (Laundrie said he only pushed her). Officers had the couple split up for the night, but experts who saw the body cam video voiced concern that Petito could have been the victim of abuse.
Laundrie has only been charged in federal court with illegally using Petito’s debit card.
Petito’s family said they last communicated with her in late August. They called in a missing person report on Sept. 11. She was believed to be in Grand Teton National Park. Laundrie quickly ended up as a person of interest, with cops in his city of North Port, Florida, saying he returned there on Sept. 1, ten days before Petito’s family reported her missing. According to cops, a Laundrie family attorney said relatives had not seen him since the previous Tuesday on Sept. 14, but they shifted this timeline to be a day earlier.
“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events,” the Laundrie family’s attorney Steve Bertolino told local NBC affiliate WFLA. “Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, Sept. 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, Sept. 13.”
Adam Klasfeld contributed to this report.
[Screenshots via Nomadic Statik]
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