Gabby Petito case: 5 unanswered questions about the 22-year-old's strangulation
A press conference on Gabby Petito's cause of death on Tuesday, October 12, revealed that the 22-year-old vlogger was strangled to death. Teton County coroner Dr Brent Blue announced the autopsy results during a press conference on zoom. "We hereby find the cause and manner of death to be: the cause of death by strangulation, and manner is homicide," he said. Gabby Petito's remains were found in a campsite close to the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 19 and a positive identification was established two days later. Her death was ruled a homicide but the cause of death had not been revealed until now.
However, even though Blue discussed several things about the autopsy, there are a number of questions that experts believe have not been answered. Here's a look at some unanswered questions that experts think are curious:
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1) Why would the coroner not disclose the manner in which Gabby Petito's body was found?
Certified death investigator Joseph Scott Morgan found it strange that the coroner would not disclose how Petito's body was found. “After a homicide is committed, even the most base person many times will conduct a burial — it goes to memorializing the dead — it paints a completely different picture,” said Joseph Scott Morgan. “When you talk about somebody that essentially takes the body and discards that body, like Gabby’s … they didn’t matter … just leaves them on top of the ground. And right now, indications are, particularly from drone footage, is that might be what has happened.”
2) What could have been the motive behind the murder?
Morgan believes that had the manner in which Petito's body was found been revealed, it may have helped investigators understand a possible motive, along with the DNA evidence they are able to gather. “This is someone [Gabby Petito] trying to protect themselves. [The FBI] will have done what are referred to as nail scrapings, and nail clippings. The FBI response team, the evidence response team, I can almost guarantee you (they) took those clippings with them and they’re being analyzed. This gives us an idea … if she fought back,” Morgan said.
3) Why were the toxicology test results not disclosed?
Blue said that the body was in the wilderness for three to four weeks" and that only an "approximate date" would be placed on her death certificate. It is curious, however, that the coroner refused to answer questions about whether any drugs had been found in her system through toxicology tests. In fact, he even refused to comment on any further details on bruising or injuries on Petito's body.
4) What took so long to figure out/disclose Petito's cause of death?
Gabby Petito's body was found late in September, and the coroner had confirmed that her death was a homicide. However, he gave no indication as to how she had died. The cause of her death was not revealed until now. Despite the fact that we now know that she had been strangled, some questions remain unanswered: What took so long to determine her cause of death? Was it because how badly the body was decomposed? Or it is possible that the cause of death was determined earlier, but disclosed only now? If that is the case, then why so?
5) Who really killed Gabby Petito?
Social media is making endless speculations about who killed the 22-year-old Long Island native. As most suspicions point at her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, people are wondering if investigators really have not been able to get DNA evidence that could link him to the crime. The coroner declined to comment whether his findings pointed to Laundrie. "I cannot make any comment about any suspects as we are not involved in that part of the investigation. So who committed the homicide is really to be confirmed by law enforcement," he said. On the other hand, Internet sleuths have come up with a theory that a serial killer in Wyoming may have murdered Gabby Petito and not her fiance Brian Laundrie.
Gabby Petito was reported missing during a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie who returned to his home in Florida on September 1 in the van the couple was using to commute. Brian, who was the last person to see her, refused to speak with the authorities about her whereabouts. During the quest to find Petito, her boyfriend, Brian was named a 'person of interest' in the case. He went missing from his home in Florida on September 14 a few days after Petito's body was found in Wyoming. A manhunt for Laundrie is underway at present.