Gabby Petito's body was found 'next to hiking shoes' as expert says it was a 'quickly covered-up crime scene'

Gabby Petito's body was found 'next to hiking shoes' as expert says it was a 'quickly covered-up crime scene'

GABBY Petito's body was found next to a pair of hiking shoes, hinting that the crime scene was covered up quickly, an expert says.

A coroner revealed that Gabby was killed by strangulation at a press conference on Tuesday as the manhunt for her fiance Brian Laundrie continues.


The announcement came nearly four weeks after her remains were found in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park on September 19.

KSL filmed aerial video of the crime scene on the day of the discovery which showed the slain 22-year-old hiker's body near a pair of discarded hiking shoes.

The video was not released publicly but was reviewed by Kurt Morgan, a longtime Salt Lake County prosecutor who has surveyed the scene of numerous homicides.

Morgan said the footage indicated that whoever discarded Gabby's body there did so with haste.

"This was quick," he told KSL. "This was not sitting here for five or six hours, trying to figure out how to conceal a crime."

Morgan also said it was unusual that there were no obvious signs of a struggle on the ground.

"One of the things I’ve been seeing in this story is a history of these individuals getting into fights and she attacked him," he explained.

"I don’t see that here. All I see is one individual who suffered the damage and no evidence of injury created by her."

Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…


Morgan said there is a good chance fingerprints or DNA were left on the body because Gabby was strangled.

He said he would look at that kind of evidence "very, very carefully" if he were prosecuting the case.

Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue on Tuesday confirmed that DNA evidence had been turned over to law enforcement but declined to comment further.

DEATH BY STRANGULATION

At the center of yesterday's press conference was the coroner's confirmation that Gabby died by strangulation after her death was ruled a homicide in a preliminary autopsy.

Dr Blue said Gabby's predicted death was three to four weeks before her body was found. The body was outside "in the wilderness" for this time.

The doctor also confirmed that Gabby Petito was not pregnant at the time of her death and that a toxicology report will unable to be released at this time.

It wasn't clear if the cause of death determination might lead to additional charges against Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance and remains unaccounted for.

FAMILY REACTS

Following the results of the autopsy, Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino released a statement saying: "Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy.

"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.

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

Gabby's mother Nichole Schmidt released a scathingly brief statement in response.

“His words are garbage. Keep talking,” Schmidt told WFLA.

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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