Gabby Petito Update: Doctor Says FBI Keeping Victim's Body From Family 'Very Unusual'

The FBI's decision not to share the cause of Gabby Petito's death when the manner was announced and withhold her remains from her family is "very unusual," according to the former chief forensic pathologist for New York State Police.

Two days after Petito's body was found in Grand Teto National Park on September 19, officials ruled that her death was a homicide. However, the cause is still pending final autopsy results. Petito's former partner, Brian Laundrie, has gone missing after being named as the person of interest in her murder. Laundrie, 23, also has an active warrant out for his arrest on fraud charges for allegedly using someone's bank card and PIN around the time Petito, 22, disappeared.

Dr. Michael Baden spoke with Fox News on Tuesday. Baden previously served as chief medical examiner in New York City and chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police. He has been involved in several high-profile cases, including the ongoing investigation into the death of disgraced financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

"I think the FBI would be very cautious about things because they don't want to make a mistake. Whatever reasons they're withholding, it is very unusual," Baden told FOX.

"I think that the only reason would be, you're concerned that you're missing something, but that should not be a concern, because whatever is needed to investigate the death from the point of view of the medical examiner will be seen, documented and could be retained," he added.

For example, if a pathologist is looking to determine if someone suffered from heart disease, he or she would retain the heart, but not the whole body, Baden said.

"In 2021, where anything of value can be document[ed], retained, tested on day one or two or three, there's no reason to keep the whole body from the family," he added.

Baden said that investigators in this case did the "reverse" of what agencies typically do in releasing the manner of death before the cause.

Newsweek has contacted the FBI for comment.

Rick Stafford, a spokesperson for Petito's family, did not respond to requests for comment from Fox regarding whether the family had access to Petito's remains.

Petito, was last seen alive in Grand Teto, Wyoming, on a cross-country road trip with her fiancée Brian Laundrie on August 25. The couple left in mid-June. Petito was found dead in Grand Teto National Park on September 19, and officials have ruled that her death was a homicide. However, the cause is still pending final autopsy results.

Laundrie returned to his parents' home in North Port, Florida on September 1 without Petito. His parents said they last saw him at their home on September 13, a day earlier than previously stated, and that Laundrie told them he was going camping in the Carlton Nature Reserve in Florida but failed to return.

The case has attracted widespread media attention, and even celebrity bounty hunter Duane Chapman, aka Dog the Bounty Hunter, has joined the search in hopes he can find Laundrie.

In an interview with NewsNow published on Monday, Dennis Davis, a hiker, confirmed he spoke with a man he later believed to be Laundrie along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina on the Appalachian Trail at around 12.30 a.m. on Saturday.

Brian Laundrie arrest warrant
A makeshift memorial dedicated to Gabby Petito is located near the North Port City Hall on September 21, 2021 in North Port, Florida. The FBI’s decision not to share the cause of Petito’s death when the manner was announced and withhold her remains from her family is “very unusual”, according to the former chief forensic pathologist for New York State Police. Octavio Jones/Getty Images