The FBI has issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie, who is still missing.
One month and a day after she was first reported missing by her family, Gabby Petito’s cause of death has been confirmed. The 22-year-old – who had been on a campervan tour of US national parks with her childhood sweetheart, Brian Laundrie, prior to her death – died of strangulation, says a coroner.
“In the of death in Gabrielle Venora Petito, we find the cause of death the cause is by strangulation and the manner is homicide,” Teton County Coroner, Dr Brent Blue, said in a press conference on Tuesday, 12 October.
Gabby Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie – who has been declared a “person of interest” in the case by the FBI – remains missing. He returned to his family home in Florida alone on on 1 September, and disappeared on 14 September after going on a hike. His family insist they haven’t seen him since, and in the wake of Gabby’s autopsy report being made public, they have issued a statement via a lawyer.
Speaking to local news station WFLA on behalf of the Laundrie family, attorney Steven Bertolino said: “Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy. While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorised 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,” the lawyer continued.
Last month, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie on suspicion of having used a debit card and PIN for accounts that don’t belong to him. The charges, which were for more than $1,000, took place some time between 30 August and 1 September.
Last month, a week after Gabby’s body was found in a Wyoming National Park, her family and friends gathered together at a memorial service for her. During the service, her dad Joseph Petito, gave a moving eulogy.
“I don’t want you guys to be sad, to be honest with you. Gabby did not live that way. I want you to be inspired by Gabby,” he told mourners at Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home in Holbrook, New York.
Gabby had dreams of becoming a travel blogger, and had set up a Youtube channel Nomadic Statik to document her adventures with Brian in their converted Ford Transit van.
“If there’s a trip that you guys want to take, take it now. Do it now, while you’ve got the time,” her dad continued.
Gabby’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, also shared a poignant tribute. “Gabby loved life and lived life every single day. She’s an example for all of us to live by, to enjoy every moment of this beautiful world,” he said. The family have gone on to get matching tattoos in honour of their daughter.