Coroner Who Performed Gabby Petito's Autopsy Explains Why Case Indicates Domestic Violence

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Dr. Brent Blue announced Tuesday that Petito was strangled to death. He spoke to Inside Edition about why he believes the case indicates domestic violence. A forensic pathologist explains why strangulation is a particularly violent way to kill.

The confirmation that Gabby Petito was strangled to death has only heightened interest in finding her missing boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. 

Tuesday's release of the autopsy results helped narrow the timeline of when the 22-year-old was likely killed — three to four weeks before her body was found on Sept. 19. 

Inside Edition spoke with the Wyoming coroner who determined the cause of death was manual strangulation/throttling.

“Throttling just means done without an instrument or done with the hands to choke someone,” Dr. Brent Blue said. “There are indications this was a domestic violence case.”

When asked what the indications are, Blue said, “The indications basically are that she was travelling with a partner.”

An expert tells Inside Edition that the slain travel blogger’s killer must have been filled with a violent rage. They say the attack must have continued long after Petito had lost consciousness and stopped fighting for her life.  

Forensic pathologist Dr. Priya Banerjee reviewed the autopsy findings for Inside Edition.  

“It’s very up close and personal and almost like anger and rage felt towards that one person. And there's plenty of time where you could stop before the person passes out,” Banerjee said. “Generally, it's less than 30 seconds to lose consciousness, but it takes a few minutes to really deprive the brain of the life-sustaining oxygen to kill someone.”

Banerjee says that Petito likely fought back and may have left scratches on the killer’s hands.

“Thinking that she was a normal, healthy girl — she's going to fight back. Really just punching, kicking, wriggling out, anything you can do to escape. That's a normal response,” Banerjee said.

Investigation Discovery is airing a special on the case with John Walsh, host of “In Pursuit.” 

Meanwhile, Laundrie's father, Chris, emerged from seclusion in North Port, Florida, to mow his lawn for the first time in weeks. He was bombarded with questions, but remained as tight-lipped as ever.

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