Coroner Dr. Brent Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death is pending final autopsy results.
Petito and Brian Laundrie, 23, left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West. Police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1.
Petito’s family filed a missing persons report Sept. 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York.
Petito’s family had been pleading for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her.
Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island, New York. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.
The FBI is asking for information from anyone who was in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area between Aug 27-30 and may have had contact with Petito or Laundrie, or saw their vehicle.
Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the case, remains missing.
Police in North Port, Florida, said Tuesday morning that investigators have returned to the Carlton Reserve to look for the 23-year-old.