The disappearance and death of Gabby Petito has raised many questions and fueled national attention, and part of the mystery could be revealed this Tuesday, as authorities plan to provide an update on the final autopsy report.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue will speak about Petito, 22, autopsy findings at 12:30 PM local time (2:30 ET) and will follow with a short question and answer session. and responses, according to a press release from his office.
In his preliminary findings, Blue ruled that the manner of his death was a homicide. However, the cause of death was pending the results of the autopsy, according to the FBI.
Petito had spent the summer traveling through the western United States with her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, and documenting their adventures on social media. But when Laundrie returned to the Florida home they shared with his parents in their van, Petito was not with him.
Her parents reported her missing on September 11, and after an exhaustive search, her remains were found on September 19 in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Petito’s body was found a five to 10-minute walk from where his van was last seen in Wyoming, his mother Nichole Schmidt and stepfather Jim Schmidt said in an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil McGraw last week. .
His case has sparked anguish, outrage and intrigue from much of the public, but it has also revealed the tens of thousands of missing persons stories that do not arouse such intense interest.
According to the National Crime Information Center, at the end of 2020 there were almost 90,000 active cases of missing persons. Few cases of missing persons receive as much urgency and national attention as Petito’s.
The mystery has deepened with the disappearance of Laundrie, who went on an excursion to a local Florida nature preserve shortly after Petito’s disappearance was reported, according to his parents.
Laundrie has not been charged with Petito’s death, but has been charged with using two financial accounts that did not belong to him in the days following his death.
What we know about Petito’s last days
From the posts on social media, Petito’s last days seemed idyllic. But after her disappearance was reported, accounts of a growing conflict between the couple emerged.
Petito called his mother regularly, and those conversations seemed to reveal that there was “increasing tension” in Petito’s relationship, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant for an external hard drive found in the truck’s van.
On August 27, a “strange text” from Petito worried his mother that something was wrong, according to the search warrant.
“Can you help Stan? I keep getting his voicemails and his missed calls,” the message read, according to the affidavit. Stan was a reference to Petito’s grandfather, whom his mother said Petito never referred to in that way, according to the affidavit.
Throughout their trip, the couple were detained by police after a 911 caller told operators on Aug. 12 that he saw a man hitting a woman, according to audio provided by the Sheriff’s Office. of Grand County in Moab, Utah.
“We drove by and the man was slapping the girl,” the caller said. “So we stopped. They ran down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, got in the car, and they drove off.”
Citizen Free Press obtained dispatch audio recordings from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office last month that shed more light on what Moab police were told about “some kind of altercation.”
And on August 27, a witness described a “commotion” as they left the Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming.
Petito was crying and Laundrie was visibly angry, going in and out of the restaurant several times, showing her anger at the staff around the waitress stand, witness Nina Angelo said.
The couple’s waitress was also visibly shaken by the incident, said Angelo, who assured Citizen Free Press that he did not see any violence or physical altercation between Petito and Laundrie.
A Merry Piglets manager, who declined to give her name, did see “an incident” at the restaurant and called the FBI, she told Citizen Free Press. The manager declined to describe what happened and said the restaurant had no surveillance video of the incident.
The search for Laundrie
Before he disappeared, North Port police were monitoring Laundrie as best they could legally, a police spokesman told Citizen Free Press’s Randi Kaye.
Investigators said Laundrie’s parents told them on Sept. 17 that he had left home days earlier and was heading to the nearby Carlton Preserve, triggering a search of the 25,000-hectare nature reserve.
His parents initially said he was gone on September 14, but last week the Laundrie family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, said: “We now believe that the day Brian went on a field trip to the reservation was Monday. September 13th”.
When he left, he didn’t take his cell phone or wallet, and his parents were worried he might hurt himself, a source close to Laundrie’s family told Citizen Free Press’s Chris Cuomo.
At the time, Laundrie was not wanted in connection with a crime, but North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said Laundrie had “enormous pressure” on him to provide answers in Petito’s disappearance.
The FBI searched Laundrie’s home on September 20, removed several items, and took a Ford Mustang convertible.
Attention then turned to the Carlton Nature Reserve, where authorities combed through swampy terrain full of snakes and alligators, using drones, scuba gear and bloodhounds.
After more than a week of searching for Laundrie, the FBI again approached his parents with a request for their personal belongings to help cross-check the DNA. Bertolino, the Laundrie’s attorney, told various media outlets that they provided what they could.
Laundrie’s father has participated in the search for his son in the nature reserve, but he does not plan to cooperate in the police search and the couple will not undergo a polygraph test, Bertolino said.
Recordando to Gabby Petito
The identification of Gabby Petito’s remains sparked mourning and commemorations across the country, both for those who knew her and for those who felt connected to her.
Joseph Petito described his daughter in a compliment as a “happy girl”, towards whom people gravitated. He made others feel welcome, he said, and he loved being outdoors, scuba diving, hiking the Appalachian Trail or snowboarding in the dunes of Colorado.
“I want them to be inspired by Gabby, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Joseph Petito. “If there is a trip you want to do, do it now. Do it now while you have time. If there is a relationship you are in that may not be the best for you, leave it now,” he said, in apparent reference to his daughter’s relationship. with Laundrie.
Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, also gave a compliment, telling those gathered: “Parents are not supposed to bury their children. This is not supposed to work like this.”
Gabby Petito provides “an example for all of us to live,” said Schmidt, “to enjoy every moment in this beautiful world, as she did, to love and give love to everyone as she did.”
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