A coroner in Wyoming has determined that Gabby Petito’s cause of death was homicide, according to a statement from the FBI Wednesday morning, though the official cause of death will remain pending until the final autopsy report is in.
Human remains “consistent” with descriptions of Petito, a 22-year-old YouTuber who had been traveling the country in a white van with fiancé Brian Laundrie, were found on Sunday in a campground in the Bridger-Teton National forest near Grand Teton National Park. The 23-year-old Laundrie, who was last seen leaving for a hike in the Carlton Reserve in Florida last week, remains missing. On Monday the FBI searched the home where the couple had he had been living with Laundrie’s parents, though no further details were released, and police continue to search the area where he went missing. According to the New York Times, Stephen Bertolino, a lawyer for Petito’s fiancé, canceled a news conference scheduled for Tuesday after a conversation with the FBI.
Petito’s was last seen checking out of a Utah hotel in late August. She texted her family on August 30: “No service in Yellowstone.” Petito was first reported missing on September 11, about halfway through a planned four-month trip and not long after Laundrie returned to Florida without her. Before his disappearance, Laundrie had refused to cooperate with investigators because, according to his lawyer, “intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this.”
Petito’s case, one of around 600,000 missing persons cases logged by the FBI every year, has attracted a vast number of true crime fans and internet sleuths and generated a kind of morbid fandom surrounding her disappearance.
“The FBI and our partners remain dedicated to ensuring anyone responsible for or complicity in Ms. Petito’s death is held accountable for their actions,” the agency’s statement read.