Gabby Petito autopsy: FBI says 'initial determination' of manner of death is homicide

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed that the remains discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest are that of Gabby Petito and that his "initial determination" of her manner of death is homicide, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver Division.

"Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999," the FBI wrote on Twitter.

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Blue initially determined the manner of death to be a homicide, but Petito’s cause of death is pending final autopsy results, according to the FBI. 

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Read the FBI’s full statement here.

"The FBI’s commitment to justice is at the forefront of each and every investigation," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. "The FBI and our partners remain dedicated to ensuring anyone responsible for or complicit in Ms. Petito’s death is held accountable for their actions."

"Mr. Brian Laundrie has been named a person of interest," Schneider continued. "Anyone with information concerning Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI."

The FBI said agents have concluded their forensic search in the area of Grand Teton National Park where Petito’s body was located, but appealed to the public for tips from anyone who used the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area from Aug. 27-30.

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FBI agents and police Monday searched the family home of Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend wanted for questioning in the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, whose body was discovered over the weekend at a Wyoming national park months after the couple set out on a cross-country road trip.

The FBI gave no details on the search by at least a dozen law enforcement officers, but agents removed several boxes and towed away a car that neighbors said was typically used by 23-year-old Brian Laundrie’s mother. Laundrie's parents were seen getting into a police vehicle.

Petito's father, Joseph, posted on social media on Sunday an image of a broken heart above a picture of his daughter with the message: "She touched the world."

In an interview broadcast Monday on TV's "Dr. Phil" show, Joseph Petito said Laundrie and his daughter had dated for 2 1/2 years, and Laundrie was "always respectful." During the interview, which was recorded before his daughter's body was found, Petito said the couple had taken a previous road trip to California in her car and there were no problems.

"If there were, I would have discouraged going on the trip," Petito said.

Petito said his family began worrying after several days without hearing from their daughter.

"We called Brian, we called the mom, we called the dad, we called the sister, we called every number that we could find," Petito said. "No phone calls were picked up, no text messages were returned."

Petito said he wants Laundrie to be held accountable for whatever part he played in Gabby’s disappearance, along with his family for protecting him.

"I hope they get what’s coming, and that includes his folks," Petito said. "Because I’ll tell you, right now, they are just as complicit, in my book."

On Sunday, the FBI announced that a body had been found in Wyoming where investigators were searching for the 22-year-old after she went missing last month

Investigators had been searching in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area of Grand Teton National Park Sunday when Charles Jones, supervisory senior resident agent for the FBI Denver, said human remains were found.

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Jones said at a news conference Sunday that the remains discovered were "consistent with the description" of Petito.

"First and foremost. on behalf of the FBI personnel, and our partners. I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the family Joe and Tara, Petito," Jones said. "As every parent can imagine this is an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends our thoughts and prayers are with them. We ask that you all respect the privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter."

Petito had been traveling across the country with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, in a converted camper van visiting U.S. west national parks. Petito hadn’t been seen or heard from since the end of August.

Her family officially reported her missing on Sept. 11, days after Laundrie returned home to Florida in the van without her.

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Laundrie, who has not cooperated with the police, is now considered a person of interest in the case and hasn’t been seen since Sept. 14, authorities say. Petito's parents had been pleading with the Laundrie family to tell police where their son last saw her, and the FBI later executed a search warrant at his home.

In Florida, North Port police have announced they are currently searching Laundrie in the more than 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in the Sarasota, Florida area of the Gulf Coast where Laundrie’s parents say he went hiking following his return home without Petito. 

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The last place Petito and Laundrie were publicly known to be together was leaving Utah on Aug. 24 and they told family they were heading to Grand Teton National Park.

On Sept. 18, the FBI field office in Denver began conducting ground surveys at Grand Teton National Park with help from the National Park Service and local law enforcement agencies.

This story is developing. The Associated Press contributed. 


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