‘We can’t let her name be taken in vain.’ Gabby Petito’s family launching foundation to help others

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the Petito and Schmidt families discussed the creation of the Gabby Petito Foundation.

News 12 Staff

Sep 28, 2021, 9:59 AM

Updated 1,021 days ago


The family of Gabby Petito says they want to make some good from the tragedy of her death.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the Petito and Schmidt families discussed the creation of the Gabby Petito Foundation.
“Gabby Petito was a beautiful woman, her infectious smile and love of life made people gravitate toward her. Gabby Petito loved life, loved people, and loved experiences. She was the bright light in everyone’s life for everyone who knew her,” said family attorney Richard Stafford.
The families hope that through the foundation, they will help others who are going through the same.
“We need positive stuff to come from the tragedy that happened. We can’t let her name be taken in vain. Anything we can do to help people, that is what we want,” said Petito’s father, Joe Petito. "I don't want to dismiss the ridiculously hard work that the FBI and law enforcement all around did, but social media has been amazing and very influential, and to be honest, it should continue for other people too. This same type of heightened awareness should be continued for everyone -- everyone."
Petito's father, mother, stepmother, and stepfather also displayed new tattoos with the phrase "let it be," that matched one that she had.
Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, wept as she told reporters her family is seeing comforting "signs" that her daughter is looking down upon them.
"We actually got behind a car yesterday and there was a Wyoming sticker, and the letters were G,B,Z, -- Gabs," Schmidt recounted.
It was the families' first news conference after Petito's body was found in Wyoming.
Authorities ruled her death as a homicide.
Meanwhile, the search continues for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, at the Carlton Reserve in Florida. Over 16 different agencies have assisted in the effort. Laundrie’s parents said he went for a hike on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Laundrie’s parents then reported him missing three days later, on Sept. 17, but not before picking up his car at the reserve.
Laundrie is a person of interest in Petito's case. There is also a federal arrest warrant out for him for activities following the death of the Blue Point native.
Stafford called on Laundrie to turn himself in.
"The Laundries did not help us find Gabby, they're sure as not going to help us find Brian. For Brian, we're asking you to turn yourself in, to the FBI or the nearest law enforcement agency," Stafford said.
On Monday, Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertollino issued a statement saying, "Chris and Roberta Laundrie do not know where Brian is. They're concerned about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him. The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just plain wrong.”
Petito's family also said her remains are still in Wyoming as the FBI continues the investigation.

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