Petito autopsy, manner of death: strangulation

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The Teton County, Wyoming coroner, Dr. Brett Blue, confirmed in a press conference on Tuesday, October that following a comprehensive autopsy, the manner of death for Blue Point woman Gabby Petito was strangulation.

Wyoming state law does not publicly release autopsy and as such, the coroner was quite limited in the scope of answers he could provide regarding the cause, manner, circumstances, and analysis of the homicide.

Petito’s body was discovered on September 19 and the coroner said it was determined that the body has been in the wilderness for at least three to four weeks.

No death certificate has been issued yet and Wyoming does allow for approximate or variable dates of death.

“Nothing is obvious in a case like this,” said the coroner, “It involves a detailed analysis to determine the manner and cause of death.”

A forensic pathologist, forensic anthropologist, and toxicologist were all involved in the autopsy as well as a whole body CAT scan.

The FBI sent samples to a forensic entomologist.

While the toxicology report findings could not be shared, the coroner did confirm that Petito was not pregnant at the time of her death.

“It has been quite the media circus, and continues to be,” said the coroner, “But this is one of many involved in domestic violence.”

Brian Laundrie, Petito’s boyfriend who has been missing from his North Port, Florida home since September 14, remains to be found despite a full-fledged manhunt in the state.

During a press conference on Sept. 28, the Petito and Schmidt families displayed new tattoos honoring their daughter and spoke about the need for the same attention to be shown to all missing persons as was shown for Gabby Petito. 

The tattoos, which mirror the ones Gabby herself had, say “Let it be” in cursive, as well as a floral drawing that Gabby designed. The family said they all got the tattoos together the night before. 

“I wanted to have her with me all the time,” said Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt. 

When asked how Gabby’s disappearance shed a light on all of the missing people throughout the country and how the world connected with her daughter and her vibrant spirit, Schmidt said she was “so proud of her daughter.” 

“I just hope that people are inspired by her.” 

Gabby’s father, Joseph Petito, called on the news media at the press conference to cover other missing person cases with the same push with which Gabby’s case was covered. 

“This same type of heightened awareness should be continued for everyone,” Petito said. 

The Petito and Schmidt families have created the Gabby Petito Foundation that they hope can help other people with missing loved ones. More information can be found at gabbypetitofoundation.org.  

A fundraiser held by the Blue Point Fire Department, of which Petito’s step-father Jim Schmidt was a former chief, is hosting a fundraiser this Sunday, October 17 from 1 pm to 7 pm at 89 North Music Venue in Patchogue.