In particular, the cause of death was «manual strangulation/throttling,» according to the coroner’s verdict, a legal document Blue filed on October 5 with the Teton County Clerk of District Court.
«We believe this was strangling by a human being,» Blue told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Richard Stafford, the Petito family’s attorney, said in September, Petito FaceTimed with her mother August 24 and exchanged texts over the following three days. The family received one last message on August 30 which read, «No service in Yosemite,» but they doubt she wrote it, Stafford said.
When Blue was asked by CNN’s Randi Kaye whether he could say definitively Gabby Petito could not have sent a text August 30, Blue said he could not.
«It’s not like TV where they say, oh, they died on this date, it’s a very rough estimate,» he said. «And I know that law enforcement is using other methods to try to determine a more exact date, but from an autopsy point of view, it’s a very rough estimate.»
The autopsy included a whole body CT scan, an examination by a forensic pathologist and by a forensic anthropologist, and a toxicology analysis, Blue said at the news conference.
He declined to provide further details about Petito’s autopsy or a potential suspect, saying he was limited in what information he could legally release.
Stafford on Tuesday reiterated the family is not commenting right now.
«Gabby’s family is not making any statements until they bring Gabby home,» Stafford said. «I will let you know when that happens.»
The coroner said Petito’s remains were at a mortuary in Wyoming.
How we got here
The announcement of the autopsy results came about a month after Petito, 22, was reported missing in the wake of a road trip with her 23-year-old fiancé Brian Laundrie.
At Tuesday’s news conference, the coroner did not identify Laundrie as a suspect in the case, although he referred to Petito’s case as «only one of many deaths around the country of people who are involved in domestic violence.»
Blue told CNN the domestic violence comment was «strictly an assumption.»
In a statement Tuesday, Laundrie’s family attorney Steve Bertolino said Laundrie had used a debit card which belonged to Petito but noted he was not a suspect in her death.
«Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,» Bertolino told CNN.
«While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise,» he added. «At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.»
What we know about Petito’s final days
Petito called her mom regularly, and those conversations appeared to reveal there was «more and more tension» in Petito’s relationship, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant of an external hard drive found in the couple’s van.
On August 27, an «odd text» from Petito worried her mother that something was wrong, according to a search warrant.
«Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,» the message read, according to the affidavit. Stan was a reference to Petito’s grandfather, who her mother said Petito never referred to that way, according to the affidavit.
«We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,» the caller said. «Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.»
CNN obtained dispatch audio recordings from the Grand County Sheriff’s office last month that shed more light on what Moab police were told about «some sort of altercation.»
And on August 27, a witness described a «commotion» as they were leaving the Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming.
Petito was in tears and Laundrie was visibly angry, going into and out of the restaurant several times, showing anger toward the staff around the hostess stand, the witness Nina Angelo said.
The couple’s waitress was also visibly shaken by the incident, said Angelo, who told CNN she did not see any violence or physical altercation between Petito and Laundrie.
A manager at Merry Piglets, who declined to give her name, did see «an incident» at the restaurant and called the FBI, she told CNN. The manager declined to describe what happened and said the restaurant did not have surveillance video of the incident.
The search for Laundrie
Investigators said Laundrie’s parents told them on September 17 he had left home days earlier and was headed to the nearby Carlton Reserve — sparking a search of the nature reserve’s 25,000 acres. Initially, his parents said he left on September 14, but last week, Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said, «We now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13.»
At the time, Laundrie was not wanted in connection with a crime, but North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor said Laundrie had an «enormous amount of pressure» on him to provide answers in Petito’s disappearance.
Attention then turned toward the Carlton nature preserve, where authorities combed through swampland filled with snakes and alligators, utilizing drones, dive teams and bloodhounds.
Laundrie’s father has participated in a search of the nature reserve for him, but he has no plans to assist in police searches and the couple will not take a polygraph test, Bertolino said.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Rob Frehse, Jennifer Henderson, Christina Maxouris, Kari Pricher, Leyla Santiago, Jenn Selva, Amir Vera and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.