Expert maps hurdles in autopsy on Gabby Petito's presumed remains

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New York Post 21 September, 2021 - 12:15pm 30 views

Where is Gabby Petito from?

Gabby Petito is a travel influencer. Originally from Blue Point, New York, Petito lives with Laundrie — apparently her fiancé — and his parents in North Port, Florida. Since about 2019, the pair have traveled the country together, with Petito documenting their trips on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. The CutWhat We Know About the Disappearance of Gabby Petito

Who was Gabby Petitos boyfriend?

Home Of Gabby Petito's Boyfriend Brian Laundrie Is Searched By Officers : NPR. Home Of Gabby Petito's Boyfriend Brian Laundrie Is Searched By Officers Officers on Monday swarmed the Florida home of Petito's boyfriend Brian Laundrie. NPRHome Of Gabby Petito's Boyfriend Brian Laundrie Is Searched By Officers

Where did they find Brian laundrie?

A massive search is continuing in southern Florida for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing on a cross-country trip and who authorities say is "consistent with the description" of a body discovered on Sunday in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. go.comSearch for Brian Laundrie resumes in 'gator and snake infested' swamp: Live updates

Expert maps hurdles in autopsy on Gabby Petito’s presumed remains

CNN 21 September, 2021 - 12:15pm

The autopsy planned to be performed Tuesday on the apparent remains of Gabby Petito will likely not provide quick and easy answers in determining the time and cause of death, according to one expert.

Medical examiners were scheduled to conduct an autopsy on the body found in Wyoming on Sunday to determine if it is the 22-year-old Long Island native whose disappearance has made worldwide headlines.

Petito’s supposed remains were discovered in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming — as law enforcement authorities continue the search for her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who has been named a “person of interest.”

Dr. Brent Blue, the Teton County coroner, has told The Post that no preliminary findings or positive identification have yet been made on the remains.

On Tuesday, forensic pathologist Dr. Priya Banerjee explained during an appearance on “Fox & Friends First” the possible challenges in determining the time and cause of death after the amount of time that has elapsed.

But given the amount of time that has passed, the forensic pathologist is worried that “everything’s going to not look like it’s supposed to be.”

“The first thing to consider is that if we think about when she was last communicated with in late August, that leads quite a bit of time for her to be deceased and for the body to decompose,” Banerjee added. “So that’s going to make things a little bit more challenging.”

The doctor noted that to determine the cause of death, pathologists will have to “really dive in” and use “extra analysis, if you will, not only toxicology, potentially needing a forensic anthropologist, if bone trauma’s there, depending on the condition of the body.”

Blue, the Teton County coroner, said all additional information would be released by the FBI.

Petito was on a cross-country trip with Laundrie, 23, when she disappeared late last month.

She last made contact with family on Aug. 30, two days before Laundrie returned home to Florida without her on Sept. 1, retained a lawyer and refused to cooperate with authorities.

Laundrie has since gone missing after his family told police he went for a hike in the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve last week and never returned.

On Monday, FBI agents and local police executed a search warrant at Laundrie’s parents’ home in North Port.

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Everyone's talking about Gabby Petito. But they're having the wrong conversation, experts say.

USA TODAY 21 September, 2021 - 09:18am

Violence against women is common. Over half of female homicide victims are killed by a current or ex-male partner. Women of color are most at risk.

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FBI discovered human remains of a body they believe to be Gabby Petito, the missing 22-year-old who was traveling cross-country with her fiancé. USA TODAY

Gabby Petito's father posted a photo of his daughter on Twitter Sunday night with the caption, “She touched the world." 

It was not an overstatement. Petito's disappearance has captivated a public consumed by anguish for her family and anxious for answers in what has become a highly-publicized case. The 22-year-old vanished while on a cross-country expedition with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23. Her family last heard from her on August 30th, two days before Laundrie returned home without her. 

Police announced Sunday human remains believed to be Petito's were discovered in Wyoming. They have described Laundrie, who has now disappeared himself, as "a person of interest."

The Petito case has received overwhelming media attention and public scrutiny, but experts in gendered violence say coverage and conversation have lacked context on the broader dynamics that make violence against women a pervasive social problem.

Bodycam footage and a 911 call before Petito's death have raised questions about possible domestic violence issues between the couple. One in 3 women has experienced intimate partner violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and over half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.

"When you treat it as just one dramatic, isolated case, you miss the bigger picture," said Kiersten Stewart, director of public policy and advocacy at the nonprofit Futures Without Violence. "On average, three women a day are killed in this country from domestic violence and we're not doing enough to address it."

Domestic violence is a preventable and widespread public health problem that cuts across race, age, income, sexual orientation, religion and gender — in terms of both victims and perpetrators. Experts say individual instances of intimate partner violence – particularly when it involves a celebrity or when that violence turns fatal for a white victim – capture public attention.

Rarely does the focus deepen to explore critical questions about the ubiquity of gendered violence, the power dynamics driving it, and the harmful stereotypes about who victims are, how they behave and the best ways to help them. 

"I think what we could be asking ourselves is, 'why does this keep happening?'" said Kellie R. Lynch, an associate professor with joint appointments in the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice and the College for Health, Community and Policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio. "We treat each of these stories as these one-off tragedies. ... Then we wait for the next story to happen."

A video released by the Moab Police Department shows an officer pulled over the couple's van on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hit a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah.

Experts say the bodycam footage is rife with red flags. Laundrie appears calm, laughing and bonding with officers, despite initially speeding away from them. One seems to intimate he understands Laundrie because he's been married for several years. Laundrie calls Petito "crazy," but says he cares about her anyway. 

Petito's demeanor was markedly different. An officer said when he tried to talk to her she was hyperventilating. Petito said Laundrie grabbed her face and officers are heard discussing how a witness said they saw him shove her. Petito tells officers she hit Laundrie. 

"Their response to law enforcement is typical. She is very upset and blaming herself while he is calm and also blaming her," said Ruth Glenn, president of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

One officer asks Petito, "Is he usually pretty patient with you?" Officers eventually decide Petito was the aggressor.

"It sounds like the typical good old boy culture among law enforcement," Lynch said. "And then there's leaning into these stereotypes: 'oh, she's just crazy or she's hysterical,' minimizing, trivializing domestic violence and abuses like these as little minor things between couples. ... How terrified she was is a bigger indication than any of the scratches on his face."

A 911 caller who reported the incident told the dispatcher that "the gentleman was slapping the girl" and hitting her, according to media reports. 

Experts say dangerous stereotypes about domestic violence persist and are partly why the public and law enforcement need better education on the dynamics of abuse, around concepts such as bi-directional violence (when both parties abuse) or self-defense.

Harmful myths about domestic violence include the assumption that it's easy for victims to leave, that help is always available when sought and that abusers are easy to spot. 

Despite its pervasiveness and brutality, domestic violence is frequently minimized or trivialized.

In 2018, a Snapchat ad asked users "Would you rather: Slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?" (Brown assaulted Rihanna in 2009.)

On the short-form video app TikTok, the #GabbyPetito hashtag has more than 500 million views, and some of the posts have been criticized as insensitive. One user called it "tone deaf true crime." 

"Oh, you haven't heard of Gabby Petito? Oh my God, girl, you are missing out. This stuff is so good," TikTok creator Jessica Dean said in a now-viral video blasting users' callousness. "I made a 28-part monetized series on my TikTok all about it, going over every single detail, including her Spotify playlist. I just dig up every inch of this poor girl's life for my personal entertainment."

Social media has contributed to outsized attention around the case, which Lynch said is likely fueling the spectacle. 

"People get sucked into it," she said, "as if they're watching something on 'True Crime,' when really behind all of that, ultimately, is a woman who (has died)."

Domestic violence disproportionally impacts women of color, though their stories rarely capture national attention.

Indigenous women experience the highest rates of domestic violence and homicide. Between 2011 and September 2020, 710 Indigenous persons were reported missing in Wyoming, and 57% of them are women, according to a report funded by the Wyoming Division of Victim Services. Only 30% of Indigenous homicide victims had newspaper media coverage, compared to 51% of white homicide victims.

"I don't want to take anything away from what happened to Gabby or what her family's going through. We would just ask the media to also realize that this is happening to other families too," Stewart said.

Black women are also more likely to experience domestic violence-related homicide than white women, according to a 2020 report from the Violence Policy Center, which writes that their deaths have "almost always been overshadowed by the toll violence has taken on Black males." 

"(Petito) is not the only one who has had this type of experience," Glenn said. "Why is this one at the top of the news? I'm asking journalists, 'why is this one different?'"

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

OPINION: Blame Brian Laundrie's disappearance on FBI

Sarasota Herald-Tribune 21 September, 2021 - 05:01am

On July 30, 1997, Jewell testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime. Now forget, for a moment, that the FBI had the wrong person the whole time, here’s what life was like for him:

“The FBI wasted millions of dollars and thousands of manhours following me, my mother, my attorneys, my friends, always with three or four cars, sometimes with as many as five or six cars, and with airplanes,” he told the committee. “The FBI followed me 24 hours a day. They followed me into restaurants, hardware stores, grocery stores, to my lawyers' offices, to my friends' homes, and to the funeral home where I went to say goodbye to a close friend who had been like a father figure to me for many years. They even followed me to my Little League field where I coach football for 10-year-old kids.”

Social media is full of people blaming the North Port Police Department for this, being it's full of hicks and all, but Laundrie’s disappearance is not on them.

A crime was not committed in North Port’s jurisdiction. Petito went missing in Wyoming. Her body was found in Wyoming. North Port is not in Wyoming. Thus, the FBI.

At one point, the parents went to the reserve and retrieved the Ford Mustang that Laundrie was driving. This means the Cyber Ninjas did not sneak Laundrie out of the house he shared with his parents. Nor did he tunnel out like El Chapo. He hopped in a car, stuck it in reverse, and bolted. Parents have a harder time navigating the car line at school.

How difficult could this have been? Do you mean an FBI agent couldn't dress like a media person and stand outside the Laundrie house? They couldn't plant a camera with a neighbor? There are cameras watching you walk out of Publix, and yet the most wanted person in America just backs his car out free and clear? At least at Publix, there’s a chance you'll hit a cart.

Let's say they tail him to Carlton Reserve, where his parents claim they picked up the car. Then you can let a drone follow him through the swamp. Not that he was ever there anyway.

Of course, he wasn't, but that fruitless search charade over the weekend will cost taxpayers plenty nonetheless. A possible scenario is he drove to the preserve, was picked up by an accomplice, and his parents knew but didn’t call authorities for three days. That's a three-day head start. Might as well be a month. And it's all on the FBI.

Do you know how easy it is for someone to disappear? Remember John Pyle, the creep from Sarasota arrested on multiple child porn charges a few years ago? He bonded out, boarded a cruise ship, no passport required, hopped off when it docked in Mexico, and no one's seen him since either.  

“These guys are full of s–t,” Taylor said. “We have a missing person case, and we don't have anyone to talk to, and we don’t have any evidence of a crime on a case that’s outside our jurisdiction,’’ he said. “This guy goes for a hike in a 25,000-acre nature reserve. How are we following him? I’m up for anybody’s idea.”

Taylor, according to the story, then wondered why the FBI is not being grilled. He’s exactly right.

It’s not like you’ll hit anyone.

Brian Laundrie search resumes in Sarasota County park following FBI raid at Florida home

FOX 13 Tampa Bay 21 September, 2021 - 04:40am

The only person of interest in Gabby Petito’s case has yet to be found, and now that investigators believe they have found her body, their efforts to track him down have since intensified.

It’s been one week since Brian Laundrie’s parents apparently heard from him, according to North Port police. On Tuesday morning, police announced they were resuming their search in the Carlton Reserve, the 25,000-acre park in Sarasota County, where crews were over the weekend. 

The preserve is closed until further notice, according to the non-profit, Friends of Carlton Reserve.

After yesterday’s heavy rains, North Port police say sections of the Carlton Reserve are now waist-deep in water in several areas, calling it "unforgiving terrain." The conditions of the park would give someone fewer places to hide, they added.

Officers resumed their search of the Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the disappearance of Gabby Petito, whose remains were presumed to have been found in Grand Teton National park. Courtesy North Port Police Department

Last week, Brian's parents said they believe he was there, authorities said, prompting the extensive search.

On Monday morning, FBI agents executed a search warrant at their home after the preserve search was halted. His parents were escorted out as detectives poured in.

Deputies, police and state wildlife officials returned to Carlton Reserve on Tuesday morning, resuming their search in the 25,000-acre park for Brian Laundrie.

Agents filled several vehicles with cardboard boxes and larger items – all presumed to be evidence related to Petito's disappearance.

A statement from the agency said agents were executing a search warrant at the home "relevant to the Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation." Search warrants explain detectives are looking for a digital trail of evidence that may be stored on electronic devices and external hard drives.

They know the camper van the couple used for the cross-country trip was spotted August 27 near Grand Teton National Park – not far from where her body was found on Sunday. Laundrie was back in North Port with the van five days later.

The search for Brian Laundrie moved from a swampy Sarasota preserve back to the home he shares with his family Monday. FBI agents spent most of the day searching the home, filling police vehicles with evidence, and speaking with his parents.

PREVIOUS: FBI removes loads of evidence from Laundrie family home in connection with Gabby Petito's disappearance

Detectives are hoping to use whatever data they can recover from electronic devices to build a timeline of Gabby’s whereabouts as well as Brian’s.

The warrant also says Gabby’s mom told detectives she and her daughter had discussed growing tension between her and Brian on the trip. It also says her mom was worried something was wrong after her final text came August 27. In it, Gabby had called her grandpa by his first name, something she says Gabby never did. The text asked her mom to help him because he kept calling her.

"Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls," states the search warrant, filed in the Sarasota County Circuit Court on Friday and made public Monday.

According to the document: "The reference to ‘Stan’ was regarding her grandfather, but per the mother, she never calls him ‘Stan.’ The mother was concerned that something was wrong with her daughter."

The text was one of a dozen grounds local law enforcement claimed it had for probable cause to conduct a search warrant at the home of Brian Laundrie, Petito’s fiancé, and his parents in North Port, Florida.

Police also noted Gabby's mental health seemed to be deteriorating.

Laundrie’s Ford Mustang was also towed from the property on Monday. North Port police say Laundrie’s parents claim he last used the car a week ago to drive to the Carlton Reserve, where they say they later found it and brought it back home.

As for Brian, he’s still nowhere to be found. A two-day search of the 25,000-acre wildlife refuge yielded nothing. His lawyer initially scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon out of New York but later said he decided to cancel it after speaking with the FBI.

Deputies in the Florida Panhandle were checking into a Facebook post that showed a person of similar description on a rural trail cam in the community of Baker.

Meanwhile, a coroner will perform an autopsy Tuesday to confirm if the remains found in Wyoming do in fact belong to Gabby. The FBI strongly believes that’s the case, adding that the remains match the 22-year-old’s description. Investigators believe Laundrie – Gabby fiancé – is the last person to see her alive. 

They were found Sunday, nearly three weeks after Brian returned home to North Port with the camper van – without Gabby. Brian was later named a person of interest in her disappearance.

The 911 caller who reported a 'domestic dispute' between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito in Moab, Utah, on Aug. 12 was heard telling a dispatcher that 'the gentleman was slapping the girl' and hitting her, Fox News has confirmed Monday after exclusively obtaining the audio of the call.

The autopsy would not only confirm if the body found is Gabby’s, but could also answer questions about how she died.

After not speaking with investigators for days, the Laundrie family eventually told investigators Brian had left days earlier with a backpack, heading for the preserve. The family’s attorney said Brian’s parents actually went looking for him on Wednesday and found his car parked at the preserve, but they left it so he could drive home. 

READ: Gabby Petito case: Autopsy to be completed Tuesday for human remains found in Wyoming

However, when he didn’t return Thursday morning, the parents say they went to retrieve the car themselves. 

A search warrant released Monday revealed that police had already searched the couple's van and found an external hard drive they plan to search for any clues.

The Bethunes, who live in the Tampa area, say they spotted what is believed to be Gabby Petito's camper on August 27. On Sunday, they submitted their video to the FBI -- which also happens to be the birthday of their son, Ethan, who died in 2011. ‘He would’ve turned 17, and I fully believe that Ethan had a hand in bringing Gabby home for sure.’

An attorney for the Petito family says Brian is not missing but rather on the run, adding that the Laundrie family’s request to have the North Port police look for their son but not for Gabby is "reprehensible and hypocritical."

The Laundrie family put out a statement Sunday night, saying the news about Gabby is "heartbreaking," adding that they’re praying for her and her family. Their attorney told FOX News on Monday that he had no immediate comment on the FBI search, but he plans to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon on Long Island.

MORE: Gabby Petito investigation: Who are Brian Laundrie's parents?

The Laundrie family lawyer has planned to make a statement during a press conference Tuesday at 1 p.m., but that press conference was canceled Monday night. 

Investigators are still asking the public for help in locating Brian Laundrie. They say he is a white male, 5-foot-8 and weighing 160 pounds. He has brown eyes, very short brown hair, trimmed facial hair, and was last seen wearing a hiking bag with a waist strap.  

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