Brian Laundrie's lawyer calls Gabby Petito's death a 'tragedy' after coroner autopsy report reveals she was strangled

BRIAN Laundrie’s lawyer branded Gabby Petito’s death a “tragedy” after an autopsy revealed that the YouTuber was strangled.

The 22-year-old vlogger's remains were discovered at a campsite near Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming on September 19 – a week after she was reported missing by her parents.

Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed that Gabby Petito died by strangulation during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Following the results of the autopsy, Laundrie's family attorney, Steve Bertolino, released a statement saying: "Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy.

"While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise.

"At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him."

However, Gabby's mom, Nichole Schmidt, slammed the comment, fuming: "His words are garbage. Keep talking."

And, the Petito-Schmidt family lawyer said they wouldn't be making any further statements until Gabby's body is returned home, Fox News reports.

Dr Blue added that the vlogger's predicted death was three to four weeks before her body was found. The body was outside "in the wilderness" for this time.

Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…

The doctor also confirmed that YouTuber was not pregnant at the time of her death and that a toxicology report was unable to be released at this time.

Following the autopsy, Gabby's body was returned to the mortuary who are dealing with the family at this time, the doctor added.

Dr Blue declined to say more about the autopsy or the case overall, saying he was prevented by Wyoming law that limits what coroners can release.

Shortly before the press conference, a private investigator claimed that Gabby may have been strangled to death based on her body language in police bodycam footage.

In an interview with Fox News,  Jason Jensen claimed: "I wouldn’t be surprised that it’s manual strangulation.


"Any victim that’s been choked before – their natural reaction is to lower their chin to their clavicle to prevent that hand from going around their throat."

Harrowing bodycam footage, first released last month, shows a tearful Gabby recalling a clash that she and her fiancé had outside the Moonflower Cafe. 

She said that their morning had been "stressful" and explained to cops that she had been apologizing to her fiancé for her OCD.

Gabby alleged that Laundrie had grabbed her face, left a “burning” gash on her cheek and red marks on her arm as cops notice some bruises.

She told cops: "Well, he like grabbed me, like, with his nail, and I guess that's why it hurts. I definitely have a cut. Like, I can feel it."

Gabby alleged that Laundrie had told her to shut up as she appeared to admit that she hit him first.

While the vlogger appeared distressed, her fiancé seemed calm throughout as he told cops his story.

He told the police: "She (Gabby) gets really worked up, and when she does she swings and she had her cell phone in her hand. So I was just trying to push her away." 


Laundrie claimed that Gabby had attacked him, alleging that she scratched his face and arm.

He said: "She had her phone and was trying to get the keys from me. So, I was backing away – I know I shouldn’t have pushed her but I was just trying to push her away to go ‘Let’s take a minute. Step back and breathe.”

It wasn't clear if Tuesday's determination might lead to additional charges against Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance and remains unaccounted for.

Laundrie and Gabby, who met in New York before moving to Florida two years ago, were around two months into their planned four-month cross-country road trip touring the US’ national parks before Gabby vanished sometime around August 27.

He quietly returned home to Florida without his fiancée on September 1.

Gabby was eventually reported missing by her mother in New York on September 11.

Days later, Laundrie vanished after allegedly telling his parents he was going hiking at Carlton Reserve. The fugitive was reported missing on September 17.

A four-week search for the fugitive has so far yielded no leads beyond speculation and a handful of potential sightings.


Laundrie is not currently considered a suspect in the case but was named a person of interest.

Law enforcement is still searching Carlton Reserve for traces of Laundrie, while TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter was on hand scouring Fort De Soto.

It was thought that Dog was going to return to Colorado amid reports of an ankle injury but it appears that he’s had a “change of heart”.

He told WFLA reporter Josh Benson that he “couldn’t bring himself to leave” the state.`

Dog’s team is investigating potential leads from Colorado to Hawaii, according to Newsweek.

There have been several alleged sightings of Laundrie since he was reported missing, including in parts of Florida, Mexico, Canada, and Montana.

Gabby Petito timeline

Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:

  • June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
  • July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
  • July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
  • July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
  • August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
  • August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
  • August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
  • August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
  • August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
  • August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
  • September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
  • September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
  • September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
  • September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
  • September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
  • September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
  • September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
  • September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
  • September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
  • September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
  • September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
  • September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
  • September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
  • September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
  • September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
  • September 26 – Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
  • October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.


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