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Former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan talks about Gabby Petito case

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 10:36 PM EDT
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Former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan, now a South Florida attorney, talked to WPTV on Monday about the Gabby Petito case.

"I think after an autopsy, very quickly they are going to be able to determine whether or not it is a homicide," Kaplan said.

Kaplan points to a key focus for FBI investigators.

"Time of death, in this particular case, is critical," he said.

That's because of suspicions that some text messages from Petito's cellphone were not sent by her.

"If they can determine that her (presumed) death pre-dated those text messages, that's a big problem for someone who may have been in possession of her cellphone," he said.

DNA samples, if found in the vehicle shared by Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, could also prove critical.

RELATED: FBI agents execute search warrant at Florida home of Gabby Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie

Kaplan noted that a search warrant served at the Laundrie family home would not have happened unless the FBI was already confident of what it would find.

"They already know the end," he said. "They already know the storyline."

A digital net is also being closed around the young couple's fateful cross-country trip.

"It is impossible to travel across the United States in a car and not be picked up on video surveillance," Kaplan said. "And, assuming a person had his cellphone on, that cellphone is going to be picked up and leave a digital footprint along the way."

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