The Teton County coroner has ruled the death of Gabby Petito, the missing 22-year-old “van-life” YouTuber, a homicide.
Her body, found Sunday near Grand Teton National Park, was positively identified Tuesday by both her family and the county coroner. The park was the last place Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie were seen together before Laundrie returned to Florida alone in Petito’s white Ford van.
The Teton County coroner’s “initial determination for the manner of death is homicide,” according to the FBI. The coroner performed the autopsy Tuesday but has not determined the cause of death.
Rick Stafford, an attorney for the Petito-Schmidt family, said, “We will be making a statement when Gabby is home.” Her father Joseph Petito tweeted Sunday, “She touched the world.”
A massive search for the missing YouTuber had been underway after Laundrie returned alone from their cross-country trip and refused to speak to authorities. He and Petito documented their adventures in cheery “van-life” videos, but bodycam footage taken after a 911 call showed a darker reality, depicting the couple in the aftermath of a tense physical fight. No charges were filed.
Laundrie has since been named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance and death, and Florida police said for the first time Tuesday that their search for him was now part of a “criminal investigation.” He has, however, disappeared, and authorities have been combing the vast wilderness of Carlton Reserve near his home. His parents and attorney say they have not heard from him in nearly a week.