A Wyoming coroner who performed Gabrielle Petito’s autopsy and announced her cause of death on Tuesday reportedly has a prior domestic violence arrest.
According to a 2014 article by the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Teton County Coroner Brent Blue was initially denied a concealed-carry permit renewal due to a prior domestic violence arrest involving his then-wife. The news outlet reported that in 1999, Blue was arrested for shooting a gun at his then-wife’s car to stop her from driving away.
According to the News & Guide, Blue was charged with a felony, aggravated assault, before Teton County Prosecutor Steve Weichman reduced the charge to a misdemeanor, reckless endangerment.
The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) denied Blue’s request to renew his concealed carry permit, which he filed in November 2014. The agency followed the recommendation of Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen, according to the News & Guide.
Not only did Blue request a judicial review of DCI’s ruling, but Weichman and former sheriff Bob Zimmer wrote letters endorsing Blue’s concealed carry permit — saying his actions in 1999 and currently do “not represent a threat to public safety.”
In December 2014, Ninth District Judge Marvin Tyler reversed DCI’s decision. However, as the News & Guide reported, Tyler’s ruling was in a confidential document, meaning it is unknown to the public why exactly Blue was ultimately granted a concealed carry permit.
Earlier this week, Blue announced that his office determined that Petito, 22, died by strangulation. He also stated that Petito was dead for three to four weeks before she was found.
Currently, Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, 23, is wanted for credit card fraud for withdrawing $1,000 between August 30 and September 1 — when Petito, 22, was missing. Laundrie reportedly arrived in Florida on September 1 without Petito, and she was reported missing on September 11.
Laundrie, who was deemed a person of interest in Petito’s initial disappearance, is believed to have left his parents’ North Port home on September 13 or 14. His parents reported him missing on September 17.
Petito spoke to her mother for the last time on August 23 or 24. She told her that she and Laundrie were leaving Utah and driving to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
On September 19, Petito’s body was discovered in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
Laundrie is believed to have left his parents’ North Port home on September 13 or 14. His parents claimed he went to the Carlton Reserve, a 24,000-acre preserve in Sarasota County, Florida.
Laundrie remains unaccounted for, and he has not been charged in connection with Petito’s death.
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[Featured image: Brent Blue/Teton County Coroner’s Office]