KEY POINTS

  • A final autopsy report released Tuesday revealed Petito died by manual strangulation
  • An expert said a pair of hiking boots left at the crime scene indicated the perpetrator concealed his crime in haste
  • It is unclear what condition Petito's body was in upon discovery

Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old YouTuber who never returned alive from her cross-country trip with her fiancé, was killed by strangulation and was dumped “quick,” according to an expert.

In a final autopsy report released Tuesday, Teton County Coroner Brent Blue revealed that Petito died by “manual strangulation” or “throttling,” which according to him meant that she was killed using human hands. 

“Throttling generally means that it was done with human hands as opposed to an instrument. It doesn’t necessarily have to be, but manual strangulation basically means it was not done with equipment,” Blue told NewsNationsNow.com.

Petito’s body was found on Sept. 19 in an undeveloped campsite in Teton County, Wyoming, at least three weeks after the coroner estimated she was killed.

During the announcement of the autopsy results, Blue refused to provide more details about Petito’s case, such as the time of her death or the condition of her body upon discovery, noting that he was not allowed to do so under Wyoming statute.  

However, Kurt Morgan, a longtime Salt Lake City prosecutor, said footage taken of the crime scene on the day of discovery indicated that Petito’s body was discarded in haste. He also noted a pair of hiking boots left near Petito’s body, suggesting that the perpetrator covered up the crime scene quickly. 

“This was quick,” Morgan told KSLTV, who obtained footage of the crime scene. “This was not sitting here for five or six hours, trying to figure out how to conceal a crime.”

Mark Eiglarsh, a criminal defense attorney and former Miami-Dade County prosecutor, said the autopsy report may result in a first-degree murder charge for the person arrested in Petito’s death. 

"I think there’s a strong argument that if premeditation didn’t exist prior to the physical contact, it certainly was developed at some point during the strangulation," he told Fox News on Tuesday.

Petito was first reported missing on Sept. 11, more than a week after her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, returned home to North Port, Florida, alone in her white van. Her remains were found later.

Laundrie, 23, is the sole person of interest in the death of the young woman. According to his family, they haven’t seen him since he left the house to go hike in nearby Carlton Reserve on Sept. 14.

Laundrie is currently wanted for illegally using Petito’s credit card to make a purchase or withdraw $1,000 between Aug. 30 and Sept.1.

This August 12, 2021, still image from a police bodycam released by the Moab City Police Department in Utah, shows Gabrielle Petito speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie This August 12, 2021, still image from a police bodycam released by the Moab City Police Department in Utah, shows Gabrielle Petito speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie Photo: Moab City Police Department / Handout