‘There’s No Reason to Keep the Whole Body From the Family’: Forensic Pathologist Questions FBI Handling of Gabby Petito Death Investigation

A former medical examiner has questioned the actions of the FBI in the Gabby Petito death investigation.

Retired New York City Chief Medical Examiner and forensic pathologist Michael Baden said in an interview with Fox News that the FBI’s decision to keep possession of Petito’s remains and failure to reveal the cause of death are “very unusual.”

“In 2021, where anything of value can be document[ed], retained, tested on day one or two or three, there’s no reason to keep the whole body from the family,” Baden told the news outlet.

It remains unclear if Petito’s family is yet in possession of her body. Her remains were still in federal custody at the time of her funeral on September 26. At that time, Fox 13 News reported. Petito’s family had not been given a timeline of when they could expect her remains to be returned, and used an empty urn at the memorial service. The Petito family lawyer did not immediately respond to a request from CrimeOnline for an update on the status of the remains.

Baden also questioned why authorities have  not yet released Petito’s cause of death.

Usually, if one thinks of other deaths, high-profile or not, the cause of death is certainly revealed. Sometimes, sometimes the manner of death is held up,” he said.

As previously reported, Petito, 22, was found dead on September 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest Wyoming. She had gone missing while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, who himself  disappeared shorty after Petito’s family reported her missing on September 11. Laundrie has been named a person of interest, but not a suspect, in Petito’s disappearance and death. He is also the subject of a federal warrant on charges that he fraudulently used someone else’s banking cards in late August and early September. A lawyer for Petito’s family said on the “Dr. Phil” show this week that Laundrie accessed Petito’s account, though the warrant does not name the victim in the financial crime.

Authorities determined that Petito was the victim of a homicide but have not yet released her specific cause of death.

Laundrie’s whereabouts remain unknown. Last week, investigators scaled back a search of the Carlton Reserve, after finding no evidence of the fugitive.

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