Unanswered Gabby Petito questions around killing of Brian Laundrie's fiance – from date of death to toxicology report
THE case of Gabby Petito's murder has grasped the nation for nearly a month, yet many questions surrounding the 22-year-old's demise remain unanswered.
From the exact date of her death to the mystery of the toxicology report and the manner of strangulation, there are plenty of questions authorities are yet to address.
Petito had been missing for weeks after her fiancé Brian Laundrie — who allegedly hit and slapped his fiance last month, a 911 caller claims — returned home to Florida without her during a cross-country road trip.
As the search for Gabby's fiancé Brian Laundrie continues, we highlight thequestions we still don't have answers for.
DID GABBY TAKE DRUGS?
While Gabby's death was ruled a homicide days after her body was found at a campsite near Grand Teton Nation Park, authorities withheld her cause of death for several weeks.
County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue finally revealed on Tuesday that Gabby had died by strangulation, but said officials were unable to release a toxicology report at this time.
Authorities have not given further details on why they have yet to release the toxicology report, which would show whether Gabby had taken any drugs at the time of her death.
WAS THE BODY BURIED?
Wyoming authorities have also not revealed whether Gabby's body had been buried when they found it on September 19.
Dr. Blue declined to comment as to whether her body showed signs of bruising, or whether it had been buried or left above ground.
But helicopter footage of the moment authorities discovered the location of her remains has fueled speculation that the 22-year-old's body may have been buried.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
KSL anchor Morgan Wolfe, who was in the chopper over the scene, tweeted: "From KSL5TV chopper 5– we saw a group of investigators in the Spread Creek area that all started pointing towards something.
"Then — a large group of them walked back to the road as we saw another investigator walked over with awning that they set up."
Moreover, investigative reporter Nancy Grace posed some questions during her one-hour special, "A Gabby Petito Investigation" on Fox News.
She asked: "Was she buried? "Was she at the bottom of a ravine?
"Because if Gabby was buried, then she was murdered. That's what I need to find out."
According to Crime Online, when Nancy Grace spoke on her daily podcast Crime Stories with Nancy Grace, she said: "If she’s buried, he did it."
WAS GABBY SEXUALLY ASSAULTED?
Dr. Brent Blue denied rumors that Gabby was pregnant at the time of her death, but he did not elaborate on whether the vlogger has been sexually assaulted.
He did, however, say he believes the case points to domestic violence.
“The indications basically are that she was traveling with a partner," dr. Blue told Inside Edition.
Additionally, forensic pathologist Dr. Priya Banerjee told the outlet that the manner of Gabby's death points to a killer filled with rage.
"It’s very up close and personal and almost like anger and rage felt towards that one person. And there's plenty of time where you could stop before the person passes out,” Banerjee said.
“Generally, it's less than 30 seconds to lose consciousness, but it takes a few minutes to really deprive the brain of the life-sustaining oxygen to kill someone.”
WHEN DID GABBY DIE?
Dr. Blue Blue said that Gabby's body had been in the Wyoming wilderness for three to four weeks before it was found, but that it's impossible to determine the exact date of her death.
"All I can really comment on is is that her body was outside in the wilderness for three to four weeks."
Gabby last spoke to her mother through FaceTime on August 24, and also sent them texts over the next three days.
The family received a text on August 30that said "No service in Yosemite," but they don't believe Gabby wrote it.
"It's not like TV where they say, oh, they died on this date, it's a very rough estimate," Dr Blue told CNN.
"And I know that law enforcement is using other methods to try to determine a more exact date, but from an autopsy point of view, it's a very rough estimate."
WHAT WAS THE KILLER'S METHOD?
Dr Blue has also revealed that officials are unsure whether she was strangled with an instrument or throttled by her killer's hands.
The autopsy report confirmed Gabby died by "strangulation / throttling" – but the two terms are used to mean different deadly methods.
“Throttling generally means that it was done with human hands as opposed to an instrument,” Dr. Blue explained.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be, but manual strangulation basically means it was not done with equipment,” he said as part of an interview with NewsNationNow.
Dr Blue added that when it comes to understanding the specific nature of strangulation, the harm to the neck is closely investigated.
“It’s determined by the nature of the injuries around the neck,” he said.
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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