Gabby Petito was a 22-year-old American woman who was killed by her fiancé Brian Laundrie in August 2021 while they were traveling together on a van life journey across the United States.
Her death received widespread media attention and sparked a nationwide search for her.
Petito’s remains were later found in a national park in Wyoming.
The case has since been closed by the FBI, with Brian Laundrie identified as the only individual directly involved in her death.
The case has also resulted in a $3 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Petito’s family.
Gabby Petito early life
Petito was born on March 19, 1999, and raised in Blue Point, New York.
She had six younger siblings and half-siblings.
In 2017, she graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School in Bayport, New York, where she met Brian Christopher Laundrie, her fiancé.
Petito worked as a pharmacy technician to save money for a cross-country trip with Laundrie.
She had also participated in a music video to raise awareness about American gun violence in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
Gabby Petito cause of death
Petito’s cause of death was ruled to be strangulation and the manner of death was homicide, according to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue.
The time of Petito’s death was estimated to be about three to four weeks before her body was found on September 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
The autopsy report revealed that she died by ‘manual strangulation/throttling’.
The coroner did not reveal how he came to the conclusion that Petito died by strangulation because Wyoming law prevented him from going into those details.
Events that led to Gabby Petito’s death
As mentioned above, Petito’s death was ruled a homicide by the coroner in Teton County, Wyoming, and the initial manner of death was determined to be strangulation.
The coroner also stated that Petito’s body was outside for 3-4 weeks before it was discovered.
The FBI released a timeline outlining the Petito case and found written statements by Laundrie claiming responsibility for Petito’s death in a notebook found near his remains.
Petito’s parents claimed in a Florida lawsuit that Laundrie told his parents he had killed her before he returned home alone from their cross-country road trip.
Below is a timeline of events leading to Petito’s death;
- July-September 2021: Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie embark on a cross-country road trip
- August 12, 2021: Police in Moab, Utah, respond to a report of a possible domestic violence incident involving Petito and Laundrie
- August 27, 2021: Petito’s mother receives what she believes to be the last text message from her daughter
- August 30, 2021: Laundrie returns to Florida alone in the couple’s van
- September 1, 2021: Petito’s family reports her missing
- September 11, 2021: Laundrie’s parents report him missing
- September 19, 2021: Petito’s body is found in Wyoming
- October 12, 2021: The coroner in Teton County, Wyoming, announces that Gabby Petito died by strangulation and that the manner of death is still considered a homicide
- January 2022: The FBI releases a timeline outlining the Petito case and finds written statements by Laundrie claiming responsibility for Petito’s death in a notebook found near his remains
It is important to note that Laundrie’s family has maintained that he is not a suspect in Petito’s disappearance or death.
What happened to Brian Laundrie?
Laundrie found dead in a nature preserve not far from his parents’ home in Florida.
A Florida medical examiner ruled that Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
His remains were discovered in a thickly wooded area in the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, partially eaten by animals after his death.
The extensive carnivore activity, including scavenging from coyotes, rodents and raccoons, resulted in only Laundrie’s skeleton remaining.
During the investigation, a search of the area where Laundrie’s remains were found also turned up a backpack, notebook, and a revolver linked to him.
In the notebook, Laundrie had written statements claiming responsibility for Gabby Petito’s death.
The FBI’s investigation did not identify any other individuals directly involved in Petito’s death.
A Wyoming coroner had previously determined that Petito died by ‘manual strangulation’ at least three weeks before her remains were found.