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Palm Beach County state attorney expects murder charges in Gabby Petito case

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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New information in a case that’s drawn attention around the world. The coroner in Teton County, Wyoming announced Tuesday exactly how Gabby Petitio died and a time frame of when the homicide happened.

The coroner who conducted the autopsy on Petito's body announced Tuesday she was strangled death and he believed she died between three and four weeks before her body was found.

The coroner also said DNA samples were taken by investigators from Petito's body.

Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie were traveling cross-country right before she went missing. Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest in the case, returned to North Port, Florida on Sept. 1 without Petito.

Her body was found in a remote area of a Wyoming park on Sept. 19. That means she was likely killed sometime between Aug. 22 and 29.

Laundrie has not spoken with investigators and he's been missing since last month, and there has been a massive manhunt trying to find him.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said that after Petito's cause of death was announced Tuesday, murder charges will be filed in this case, but the question is when.

"We're moving towards filing charges but prosecutors are in no rush to file charges because once you file those charges, you have speedy trial rules and you have to try the case within 180 days," Aronberg said. "So prosecutors are going to make sure they have enough evidence before they file charges."

The Laundrie family did release this statement through their attorney shortly after the autopsy results were released, writing in part, "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."

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