Gabby Petito’s parents traveled to Wyoming to return her remains to New York, a family representative said on Wednesday, a day after a coroner announced the 22-year-old had died from “manual strangulation. “.
The Long Island woman’s body was discovered on September 19 in the scattered Spread Creek camping area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue previously said her death was a homicide.
Blue determined on October 5 that Petito had died of strangulation, but waited until Tuesday to release the results. Petito’s body was handed over to the Valley Mortuary in Jackson for cremation, Blue said on Wednesday.
A nationwide manhunt for the woman’s missing fiancé, Brian Laundrie – named a person of interest in the case – is underway.
Steven Bertolino, a lawyer for the Laundrie family, reiterated on Tuesday that Brian Laundrie is not a suspect in Petito’s disappearance or death.
“The death of Gabby Petito at such a young age is a tragedy,” Bertolino said in a statement. “While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is not considered a person to the disappearance of Gabby Petito. At present, Brian is still missing, and when he is located, we will deal with the pending fraud charge against him. “
Petito’s mother and stepfather visited a memorial dedicated to their daughter in Blue Point, New York, after the autopsy results were released, NBC New York reported. They have not spoken to the press, but his mother, Nichole Schmidt, texted a reporter saying “Bertolino’s words are rubbish”, referring to his statement.
Petito and Laundrie were traveling across the country, chronicling their travels on social media, before returning to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, where he arrived on September 1 without his fiancee, police said.
The woman’s family reported her missing on September 11, and Laundrie himself quickly disappeared.
Laundrie’s family told investigators he went on a hike around September 13 or 14 in the Carlton Reservation in Florida and never returned. Their story to investigators has not always been consistent.
Law enforcement searched the 25,000-acre wildlife sanctuary several times for him. An arrest warrant was issued against him after authorities said he used his debit card without authorization.
Also last month, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office in Utah released the 911 audio of a witness who said he saw a man slap a woman, then a white Ford Transit pickup truck with a car license plate. Florida move away.
The 911 call led Moab police to stop the van – driven by Laundrie, with Petito as a passenger – on August 12.
David K. Li and Pei-Sze Cheng contributed.