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A forensic pathologist says the full autopsy results of Gabby Petito could take a couple of days

Posted at 6:58 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 07:54:34-04

NORTH PORT, Fla. — The FBI announced Tuesday that the remains found in Grand Teton National Park are those of Gabby Petito.

The Teton County Coroner's Office confirmed the identification of Petito. The coroner classified the death as a homicide.

The manner of death is pending the full autopsy.

Board-certified forensic pathologist, Priya Banerjee, said the full autopsy could take some time.

“It's not a few hours’ worth of work it's going to be at least a day, if not two so there's sort of the immediate exam, you know which is like looking at the body and then there's testing the testing like toxicology," she said.

Banerjee said things like weather, sun exposure and animal activity could accelerate decomposition.

“Climate really affects that, so in mountainous, with like direct sun exposure from what I've seen about the terrain there's not a lot of like shade or trees."

According to the National Park Service, the high in Grand Teton National Park is around 77 degrees. Nighttime temperatures can drop as low as 30 degrees.

Those large swings in temperature can affect the body as well, she said.

“That can affect the body as well as decomposition that happens regardless of where you are just when the body dies," she said.

Banerjee said that wouldn't affect the coroner's determination of the cause of death.

With possible decomposition, the coroner could bring in additional experts to help determine the cause of death.

“Along with us, if there is bug activity, maybe an entomologist will be involved and obviously, toxicology is always pertinent and that could take months as well," Banerjee said.

Banerjee even said once the full autopsy is complete, it may not be released. If it is, it could be redacted. She said she has kept specific information from the public depending on the investigation.

“With the media interest, you have to always think. What will and will not be released," she said. “As to what exactly, how she died. I think that is going to be kept very close to the vest because of how much has to be put together for legal purposes."