Jackson: Cross-country traveller Gabby Petito was strangled to death, a Wyoming coroner announced Wednesday AEDT.
Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found September 19 near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming, Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue said in a news conference.
It wasn’t clear if the determination might lead to additional charges against Petito’s boyfriend and travelling partner, Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance and remains unaccounted for.
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.
Petito had been on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend. She was reported missing September 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West.
Blue previously classified Petito’s death as a homicide — meaning her death was caused by another person — but had not disclosed how she was killed pending further autopsy results.
Petito’s case has led to renewed calls for people to pay greater attention to cases involving missing Indigenous women and other people of colour, with some commentators describing the intense coverage of her disappearance as “missing white woman syndrome”.
The search for Laundrie has generated a frenzy, with TV personalities like Duane Chapman — known as Dog the Bounty Hunter — and longtime “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh working to track him down.