With Teton County, Wyoming, Coroner Brent Blue further explaining that Gabby Petito was strangled by hands around her neck, experts are sounding in on the brutality of the killing.
“It’s very up close and personal, and almost like anger or rage-filled toward that one person,” forensic pathologist Dr Priya Banerjee, who reviewed Petito’s autopsy, told Inside Edition.
John Walsh, host of Investigation Discovery’s “In Pursuit,” agreed.
“That’s the way angry cowards kill people, up close like that. They strangle them,” he said. “They’re looking in the person’s eyes, terrorizing them.”
Blue, who performed the autopsy on Petito’s body, said that he saw plain “indications this was a domestic violence case.”
“The indications basically are that she was traveling with a partner,” he said.
Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, had been on the road for nearly two months when Laundrie abruptly returned to their Florida home with the van but without his girlfriend. Petito’s frantic family couldn’t get Laundrie or his parents — where he and Petito lived — to speak with them as they desperately tried to find out where their daughter was. In fact, they didn’t even know Brian Laundrie had returned to Florida for days after he did so.
Petito’s family filed a missing person report on September 11, while the Laundries refused to speak with police until September 17, when Chris and Roberta Laundrie called cops to tell them their son was now missing, that he’d left days earlier for a hike in a nearby nature preserve and had neither returned nor contacted them.
Two days later, Petito’s body was found in a remote campsite in Wyoming. Blue ruled the death a homicide and said her body had been in the elements for three to four weeks.
Laundrie has been named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance but not a suspect. He is wanted on a federal warrant for bank fraud, for allegedly using Petito’s bank cards to withdraw money from her account after she was last seen.
Banerjee also noted that “there’s plenty of time where you could stop before the person passes out.”
“Generally it’s less than 30 seconds to lose consciousness, but it takes a few minutes to deprives the brain of this life sustaining oxygen, to kill someone,” she said.
And, she said, her killer likely had scratches on his hands.
“She’s a normal healthy girl — she’s gonna fight back,” she said. “Just punching, kicking wriggling, out, anything you can do to escape. That’s a normal response.”
Investigators are still searching for Laundrie.
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[Featured image: Gabby Petito/Instagram]