The Teton County, Wyoming, medical examiner announced on Tuesday that Gabby Petito was strangled to death, weeks after announcing that Petito, 22, was a homicide victim.
As a press conference Tuesday, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue also said that Petito had been dead for three to four weeks before her body was found. This new information would appear to further implicate Petito’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who was reportedly with Petito on August 27 at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, where Laundrie argued with staff there, a witness said. There have been no reports of witness sightings of Petito after that date.
Laundrie had been named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance before her body was found, but he has not been named a suspect in her murder.
“Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is 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,” the Laundrie family attorney said in a statement obtained by News Nation Now.
Following the press conference, News Nation Now reporter Brian Entin obtained a memo from the Teton County Coroner’s Office that further specific Petito’s cause of death, stating that she was “manually strangled/throttled.”
Gabby Petito official cause of death:
Death by manual strangulation/throttling pic.twitter.com/vQ6Sn9HXt9
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) October 12, 2021
But Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said on Twitter that he believes Laundrie will be named a suspect very soon.
Gabby Petito’s death was previously ruled a homicide. Today, we learned that the cause of death was strangulation. This most likely means that murder charges are imminent. #GabbyPetito
— Dave Aronberg (@aronberg) October 12, 2021
“Gabby Petito’s death was previously ruled a homicide. Today, we learned that the cause of death was strangulation. This most likely means that murder charges are imminent,” Arongberg wrote on Twitter.
Aronberg has no known involvement with the search for Laundrie, which is focused on Sarasota County and being led by the FBI, or with the the Gabby Petito death investigation.
Previously, Aronberg gave an interview to News Nation Now in which he pointed out that the Laundrie family attorney is not legally required to contact law enforcement if he knows where Brian Laundrie might be.
“If you’re asked by law enforcement and lie that’s a crime. And lawyers, although they do have attorney-client privilege, there’s still something called a crime fraud exception. So if the lawyer is helping Brian escape, if the lawyer is destroying evidence then that would be a crime and the lawyer could be charged with a crime.
“But no, the lawyer, even if he knows where Brian is, is under no obligation affirmatively to go to law enforcement and tell them,” he said.
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[Feature image: Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie/Instagram]