Gabby Petito's parents return from Wyoming with her remains as her hometown holds first event for her foundation
18th October 2021

GABBY Petito’s parents have returned from Wyoming with her remains as her hometown turned up in force for the first event organised by her foundation.

Petito’s body was discovered on September 19 in northern Wyoming along the border of Grand Teton National Park.





She had been on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie when she went missing.

Teton County Coroner Brent Blue later determined she had been strangled to death after carrying out an autopsy.

Petito’s grieving parents, dad Joe Petito and mom Nicole Schmidt, collected Gabby’s ashes from Valley Mortuary, Jackson, Wyoming, Saturday morning.

They have now returned home to Blue Point, Long Island, New York, where a fundraiser for the Gabby Petito Foundation was being held.

The foundation was set up after Petito’s death to help the families of missing loved ones.

The event featured live music as well as food, drinks, a raffle and auction.

It was organized by three friends of Petito’s stepdad Jim Schmidt – Steve Campo, Bill Nevin and Christian Cabrera.

Nevin spoke about Gabby's family, and emphasized that they made sure to get her parents' blessing for the fundraising events.

He told The Sun: “We went to the family to make sure they were okay with it, and they've been updated every time we did something.”

"This came together with the three of us…just rocking and rolling, so to speak," Nevin added.

Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…

Initially, the fundraiser was going to support Gabby's family directly, but they refused.

"We were just gonna get the money to the family because of the expenses they incurred," Nevin said.

But Gabby's family insisted on paying it forward.

"We want the foundation to help other victims of domestic violence," Nevin said, "and any other families that have to go through the tragedy that their family went through."

COMMUNITY RALLIES FOR FUNDRAISER

The local community had come together and all pitch in for the event, according to Daniel Welsch, owner of 89 North in Patchogue, where the fundraiser was held.

Welsch told The Sun: "It's just an unspeakable tragedy. It shouldn't ever happen to a sweet young lady like her, or anybody, for that matter.”

He added the response from the locals had been "very positive."

"Everybody wants to help make phone calls and send emails," he said.

One person even drove down from Albany to support the event.

"It touched everybody," Daniel said.

One attendee of the fundraiser, who only wanted to be known as Karen S, knew Petito when she had a restaurant job and served her, described Gabby as someone who “loved life”.

Karen told The Sun: "She was such a soft lovable girl, you know, very, very sensitive."

Gabby "loved life so much, but I think that Brian was so jealous of her," said Karen.

Brian didn't have the same joy as Gabby, and for that reason, Karen said, "She loved him, but he could not love her back."

Petito’s parents did not attend the fundraiser due to being exhausted from their recent travelling.

Authorities have said Laundrie is a "person of interest" in the murder of Petito and a warrant is currently out for his arrest over alleged debit card fraud.




Gabby Petito timeline

Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:

  • June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
  • July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
  • July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
  • July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
  • August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
  • August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
  • August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
  • August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
  • August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
  • August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
  • September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
  • September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
  • September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
  • September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
  • September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
  • September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
  • September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
  • September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
  • September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
  • September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
  • September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
  • September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
  • September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
  • September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
  • September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
  • September 26 – Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
  • October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.

 

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