Gabby Petito’s parents have set up a missing children’s charity after their 22-year-old daughter went missing and was discovered dead.
Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nicole Schmidt, reported the YouTuber missing on September 11 after her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, returned home from travelling without her.
Laundrie had no explanation for Petito’s whereabouts at the time, however the 22-year-old’s body was discovered last Sunday, September 19, in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
In a tweet shared this weekend, Joseph shared an image of his daughter with wings and a halo, and announced the creation of The Gabby Petito Foundation.
He wrote, ‘No one should have to find their child on their own. We are creating this foundation to give resources and guidance on bringing their children home. We are looking to help people in similar situations as Gabby.’
A link to the charity’s website currently leads to a page that assures the foundation is ‘coming soon’, and which provides details of a memorial service set to take place in New York today, September 26.
Scheduled from midday until 5pm local time at Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home, the service will be open to the public for those who want to pay their respects to Petito in the wake of her untimely death, though ABC 7 reports the funeral home will be taking extraordinary measures to preserve the privacy of Petito’s family and friends.
The Suffolk County Police Department is set to have extra resources for traffic and safety in place for those looking to attend.
Petito’s family has asked that anyone considering buying flowers for the YouTuber should instead donate to the foundation, with the website adding, ‘Gabby’s family is grateful for everyone’s support & takes comfort that she has touched so many lives.’
On Friday evening, community members on Long Island came together to mourn Petito’s death by lining the streets of Blue Point, where Petito grew up, with candles, ribbons and balloons.
Petito’s mother Nicole shared a post on Facebook this week following a 12-day silence around her daughter’s case, writing, in part, ‘As I scroll through all the posts, my heart is full of love. I wish I could reach out and hug each and every one of you. Your support has been so overwhelming.’
Investigators are still seeking information from anyone who may have seen Petito and Laundrie around Grand Teton. After returning home to Florida without Petito, Laundrie told his parents he was going for a hike and disappeared.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Topics: News, Brian Laundrie, Charity, Gabby Petito, New York, Now