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Teton County, Wyoming coroner Brent Blue offered more heartbreaking information on 22-year-old Gabby Petito’s death, which was determined to be a homicide by strangulation on Tuesday.
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In a new interview on Anderson Cooper 360, the coroner responded to new paperwork that was filed, which deemed that the cause of Petito’s death was “manual strangulation/throttling.”
“Throttling means that someone was strangled by human force; there was no mechanical force involved,” Blue told Cooper. “People can be strangled by other means … but we believe this was strangling by a human being.”
The verb throttle is defined as “to stop the breath of by compressing the throat; strangle.”
Blue explained that “only humans have opposable thumbs” as far as determining that Petito’s death was caused by another human being and pointed out that “there was no evidence that this was done by any kind of animal as far as cause of death.”
Petito was reported missing on September 11 when she failed to return home or contact her family during a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie.
Petito’s body was found on September 19 near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, six days after Laundrie was reportedly last seen.
“The only thing that the coroner is responsible for releasing is the identification for the body and the manner and cause of death,” Blue said regarding speculation that Petito’s death was caused by domestic violence among other questions about the nature of her killing. “There are reasons why in our investigation we call this a homicide first and then the cause of death later, and that had a lot to do with certain circumstances and factors that we observed.”
Laundrie, who is wanted on counts of debit card fraud and as a person of interest in Petito’s death, is still missing.