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Gabby Petito died by strangulation, coroner says

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Gabby Petito died by strangulation, autopsy finds
Gabby Petito died by strangulation, autopsy finds 03:30

Gabby Petito died by strangulation, a Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday. The grim details come as authorities continue to search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who was traveling with her before she died.

Dr. Brent Blue, the Teton County coroner, said the manner of death is still considered a homicide, backing initial autopsy results that were released last month. He did not comment on who may be responsible for her death and said he could not comment on how his team determined she died by strangulation.  

The 22-year-old was reported missing and found on September 19 after she and Laundrie embarked on a cross-country road trip earlier this summer. Laundrie returned to Florida on September 1 without Petito, 10 days before her mother reported her missing. 

Petito's body was found on September 19 in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Blue said he believes Petito's body was outside for three to four weeks before it was found. 

Coroner says Gabby Petito died by strangulation 16:30

A court in Wyoming issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie in late September, alleging that he engaged in the unauthorized use of a debit card to make unauthorized withdrawals of more than $1,000 between August 30 and September 1. 

Investigators are still searching for Laundrie, and have zeroed in on Florida's dense, swampy 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve. 

In a statement to CBS News, attorney Steven Bertolino, who represents the Laundrie family, called Petito's death a "tragedy" — but noted Brian is not currently facing any charges in her death. 

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

Petito's family declined to comment on the announcement. 

Petito's death has captivated the nation. When asked how he handled the pressure of performing an autopsy in such a high-profile case, Blue said he was disappointed that the "media circus" surrounding Petito's death was not applied to other missing victims. 

"There are a lot of both men and women who have lost their lives who aren't covered with this kind of media attention," he said. 

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