Gabby Petito’s 2012 white Ford Transit van might comprise essential evidence for acquiring a conviction in her slaying, which authorities dominated a homicide by strangulation Tuesday, in line with a longtime investigator.

Pat Diaz, who spent greater than twenty years of his 35-year regulation enforcement profession with the Miami-Dade homicide unit and helped on the “Cocaine Cowboys” case, mentioned the automobile and cellphone data comprise a trove of data helpful to investigators.

“That’s their evidence, that’s their key evidence there, the van,” he instructed Fox News. “Everything that they’re gonna be able to prove…it’s gonna come out of that truck.”

Police in Moab, Utah, stopped Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12 after he allegedly slapped Gabby Petito in public.
(Moab City Police Department)


But if the van doesn’t have conclusive evidence linking Petito’s killer to the crime, Tuesday’s Teton County coroner news convention might current an uphill battle for prosecutors, he warned.

“The one thing you have in this whole case is the cause of death,” he mentioned. 

It would have been tough to find out, as a result of state of Petito’s stays after greater than three weeks in the wilderness, and sure required an X-ray examination to make certain.

Gabby Petito poses for an Instagram photo in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Gabby Petito poses for an Instagram photograph in Bryce Canyon National Park.

With that data out in the general public, it might make even a confession tough to make use of at trial except it consists of clear particulars that also stay unavailable. And for that purpose, he mentioned investigators most likely didn’t need the cause to be launched Tuesday, though it had already been withheld from the general public for weeks.

“I would have totally been against releasing the cause of death,” he mentioned. “I would have said the body was a terrible state of condition, we’re still processing the body, and buy more time – then given the cause of death.”


Investigators have to this point held off from publicly naming a suspect in the case. Brian Laundrie, Petito’s former fiancé, is an individual of curiosity.

He’s additionally wished on a federal warrant for alleged debit card fraud that came about after Petito’s death in late August.

Just two weeks earlier than Petito’s final dialog together with her mom and he or she was final seen in public, witnesses in Moab, Utah, known as police to report a potential home incident in which Laundrie was allegedly slapping and hitting Petito in broad daylight.

However responding officers have been instructed by Petito, Laundrie and one of the witnesses that she initiated the altercation – they usually declined to quote anybody or press expenses.


Instead, they deemed it a “mental health break” and drove Laundrie to a motel, the place they instructed him to spend the evening. It’s unclear if he did.

Five days later, Laundrie flew again to Tampa from Salt Lake City. He spent six days in Florida and met Petito in Utah on Aug. 23. 

Chris Laundrie mowing the lawn less than 24 hours after coroner determined their son's fiancée was killed by strangulationVideo

They set off for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming the subsequent day – and he or she was final seen in public on Aug. 27. That night, a journey running a blog couple filmed her van at a campsite simply inside Bridger-Teton National forest off Spread Creek Road north of Jackson.

The campsite is roughly the place an FBI-led search crew discovered Petito’s physique on Sept. 19.

Now that guide strangulation has been established as a cause of death, some specialists consider a first-degree homicide cost is a risk for whoever is ultimately named a suspect.

“It almost always gets you first-degree murder because premeditation can be formed in an instant,” Mark Eiglarsh, a prison protection legal professional and former Miami-Dade County prosecutor, instructed Fox News on Tuesday. “You put your hands around the neck, that’s an unwanted touching, that’s simple battery or assault. Then you start to squeeze, your argument could be, ‘Well, I just wanted to scare them.’ But then you contuse to affix pressure… There’s a certain amount of minimal time that someone needs to do that before somebody is dead.” 

Laundrie and the van are believed to have returned to his mother and father’ North Port, Florida, dwelling on Sept. 1. The household mentioned nothing about Petito’s disappearance – which her mom reported 10 days later to police in New York.

Through their legal professional, Laundries’ mother and father declare they haven’t seen their son since Sept. 13. His whereabouts remained unknown as of Wednesday morning.

Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.