WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Gabby Petito’s cause of death was “manual strangulation,” according to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue.
- Forensic pathologist Priya Banerjee said Petito’s cause of death was characterized as “up close and personal, it’s a lot of anger and very targeted toward the victim.”
- Blue believes Petito died three to four weeks before her body was found on September 19.
Gabby Petito’s cause of death was “manual strangulation,” according to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue, who had previously ruled the young woman’s death a homicide.
Priya Banerjee, a board-certified anatomic and forensic pathologist, characterized the manner of death as “up close and personal, it’s a lot of anger and very targeted toward the victim.”
“You know, manual strangulation is done with the hands, or body part, for that matter. You don’t need anything outside of that,” said Banerjee.
Blue added that he believes the 22-year-old died three to four weeks before her body was discovered on September 19. Search crews found Petito’s remains in Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson, Wyoming. Blue, citing a Wyoming state law, said he could not reveal any specific details in the autopsy report besides the cause and manner of death.
Banerjee said it is remarkable that the coroner was able to determine Petito’s injuries, considering the length of time she had already been dead.
“I think it’s important to know that, first of all, they were able to tell that she still had significant internal injuries, despite having decomposed, the body is not in the normal state after three or four weeks, so that’s really critical,” Banerjee told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”
Petito and her 23-year-old fiancé Brian Laundrie went on a cross-country road trip in July. Laundrie returned to his parents’ Florida home on Sept 1 without Petito. He is now wanted for debit card fraud after the FBI discovered unauthorized use of Petito’s debit card, with withdrawals worth more than $1,000 during the period she went missing.
Petito’s parents, who said they last spoke to Gabby on Aug. 25, reported her missing on Sept. 11.
Laundrie has been missing since Sept. 14, when he told his parents he was going for a hike in Florida’s Carlton Preserve.