Expert explains how Gabby Petito may have been a victim of domestic violence

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

October is domestic violence awareness month, and though we do not know yet who killed Gabby Petito, her case has brought the subject to the forefront.

WINK News spoke with an expert who says there could be a link between Gabby’s death by strangulation and a violent domestic situation.

We know Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie had a fight that got physical.

Moab City Utah Police bodycam video shows the aftermath of that fight that left Gabby in tears and the two separated for a night.

Now we know someone strangled Gabby to death, but we don’t know who.

Linda Oberhaus, CEO of The Shelter for Abused Women said, “if you grab a victim by the neck, they literally feel like they’re going to die. And that abuser has full control over that person.”

Brian Laundrie was the last known person to see Gabby alive. And while we don’t know if he’s responsible, Linda Oberhaus with The Shelter for Abused Women believes her killer is likely someone close to her. “When you have a victim who has died of strangulation, usually you’re going to look at an intimate partner who has done that.”

The man responsible for finding the cause of her death, Teton County, Wyoming coroner Doctor Brent Blue, didn’t come out and say it but hinted that Oberhaus’ theory could be true. “Unfortunately this is all one of many deaths around the country of people who are involved in domestic violence and it’s unfortunate that these other deaths do not get as much coverage as this one.”

Linda Oberhaus said, “abusers, they choose who, when and where they perpetrate violence, and whether they escalate that violence.”

Doctor Blue estimates Gabby died three to four weeks before her body was found in Grand Teton National Park. Meaning she died on or after August 27th. That’s when someone in Wyoming told police they saw Brian and Gabby arguing at a restaurant.

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