Gabby Petito Case: Expert Speaks on ‘Clue’ That Could Help Solve Murder Investigation

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Despite Brian Laundrie reportedly being dead, one expert believes authorities can still draw a connection between his death and Gabby Petito’s with this major “clue.”

Paul Belli, an ex lieutenant of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s office, spoke to CNN about various ways the authorities could answer some questions regarding Petito’s death. One way involved analyzing the crime scene and bodies for evidence of DNA. Considering the circumstantial evidence indicating that Laundrie may have done it, Belli “expects” that authorities will find his DNA on her remains.

“You would expect DNA on either one of them from the other,” Belli said. “But I mean, if there’s DNA maybe where it shouldn’t be, that could be kind of a clue as to what may have occurred.”

Gabby Petito died of manual strangulation, coroners ruled, so someone used their bare hands to kill her. That should potentially leave loads of DNA on Petito’s body. Also, not to mention, her DNA on the attacker if she fought them. Although, finding any sort of DNA on Laundrie might be impossible since his body’s already skeletonized by being out in the Florida wild.

But whether they find Laundrie or Petito’s DNA on either body, it will still point investigators in the right direction, according to Belli.

“So there are ways to absolutely, at least get you to a point where you’re like ‘Ok this definitely makes sense, this is the person who did this crime,'” he told CNN.

Aside from DNA, Belli also said that finding either Gabby Petito’s or Brian Laundrie’s cell phone could help the investigation. CNN confirmed in early October that the authorities did not have either person’s cell phone from when they traveled together.

Belli said the devices could provide an “incredible amount of information” about the case.

Expert Says Video Evidence Could Also Provide Answers to Gabby Petito’s Death

Aside from finding their cell phones, Belli also believes that the authorities can compile video evidence. With that footage coming from Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s road trip.

“I don’t think people realize the sheer volume of information that we now get on every case,” Belli said. “Video, phone records … if that vehicle had any information that can be gleaned from it with a GPS.”

Belli especially hopes that police will be able to track Laundrie’s travels from Wyoming down to Florida. He and Petito visited Grand Teton National Park, where her body was found, in late August. But on Sept. 1, he arrived back in North Port, Florida, at his parent’s house. That’s a long trip for one person to make.

Laundrie also used Gabby Petito’s debit card and PIN during his travels back to Florida. Authorities could use that to track his travels.

“(Authorities) probably collected video from wherever those were used. Video for wherever he may have appeared to stop for a period of time. I doubt he drove completely straight through,” Belli said. “So, there’s a lot of additional work to be done that has been in progress, most likely.”