Just days after Gabby Petito’s body was found in Wyoming National Park, an incident gripped the country, with aspiring bloggers and strangers alike mourning her death.
According to the event’s Facebook page, a small crowd gathered in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night to light a candle “to celebrate the life of Gabriel Petito.”
Awareness organizer Serena Chavez told CNN that although the 22-year-old has never lived in Utah, the time she spends there and her love for nature connects her to the community.
“We will not forget you. We will not let your light fade,” Chavez said. “We will remember the other women or children who are missing. Their families are devastated, and I can only imagine what Gabby’s family is going through.”
The warning came just days after the crew ended up searching for Petito’s fianc ব্র Brian Laundry in Wilderness Park, Florida. Investigators say Laundry’s parents told them he went to Carlton Reserve Park on Sept. 1 after returning home from a cross-country trip without Petito. The campaign continues Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, Petito’s stepfather placed a stone cross in the area where his body was found Wednesday, Fox News reported. On Petito’s Instagram page, which now has more than 1 million followers, fans mourned him in the comments section of his photo.
Where do they know you ?:The FBI needs help in solving the cases of 43 missing persons
Feedback:It’s okay to demand justice for Gabby Petito and still admit thousands of missing people
In North Port, Florida, where Petito lived before his death, a makeshift memorial near City Hall continues to grow this week as people leave flowers, teddy bears and pictures.
A table with flowers, pictures and flashing lights was set in his memory at the North Carolina restaurant where Petito once worked before moving to Florida. The restaurant also plans to plant a tree in Petito’s honor, general manager Lara Witschen told WWAY.
Witschen said Petito was “so full of life” and “his whole life was in front of him.”
“He’s not just a name. He’s not just a case. He was a person and he was very special to many people and to many of us,” Witschen told WWAY. “He was a good spirit, a good spirit and touched the lives of many. That’s what we want him to remember.”
What happened to Gabby Petito?
The Teton County coroner confirmed Tuesday that the human bodies found in a campground near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sunday were petito. Petito’s death was initially ruled a homicide, but the final autopsy of Corona’s death did not provide a specific reason for the outcome.
Petito and Laundry set off for a cross-country road trip in July that the couple recorded on social media. When the trip was scheduled to end in Oregon late next month, Laundry returned to the Florida couple’s home on Sept. 1 without Petito.
Petito’s parents reported him missing 10 days later.
During a nationwide investigation led by the FBI, investigators accused Laundry and people in its vicinity of withholding critical information about the case. When authorities confiscated Petito’s van, Laundry refused to speak to authorities, claiming his Fifth Amendment rights, and hired a lawyer instead.
The search still leads to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where Petito’s body was found.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Gabby’s family, friends and those whose lives he has touched,” the FBI’s Denver office said in a statement.
Michael Snyder, the FBI’s special agent in charge, said the bureau and law enforcement are dedicated to bringing Petito’s killers – or killers – to justice.
The laundry family issued a brief statement through attorney Steven Bertolino: “Gabby, keep the peace.”
Experts say:Everyone is talking about Gabby Petito, but they are having the wrong conversation
The Tiktok Gabby Petito case includes:Are these real crime sluts helping to solve it?
What is the reason for the disappearance of Petito?
On YouTube and Instagram, the couple described the trip as a romantic adventure.
But in Utah, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office released a 911 call Monday, Aug. 12, where the caller said he drove into the couple’s van and witnessed “the gentleman slapping the girl.”
A viral body camera video released last week showed Petito breaking down in tears as police stopped on a sidewalk near Arches National Park in Utah. The footage shows a Moab, Utah, police officer talking to Laundry, who said the two had been arguing for several days, although authorities at the scene took no action other than to separate the couple for the night.
The search for Brian Laundry continues
Authorities continued searching for laundry in the Greater Florida Wetlands Thursday using dogs, drones and ATV vehicles in treacherous territory.
North Port police have been searching the Carlton Reserve since last week when Laundry’s family reported him missing when they said he was camping in a 25,000-acre desert area.
The Sarasota County Air Search Team and the Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force joined the effort Wednesday as divers searched the water bodies for evidence, The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said.
“Please be aware, Carlton Reserve is a huge and unforgivable place at times. It is currently deep in waist water in many areas,” North Port Police said in a Facebook post. “It’s a dangerous job for search crews as they wander through gator- and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails.”
Local survival expert Mark Burrow said the reserve is very wet and contains little food or safe drinking water, adding that clouds of black bears, coyotes, bobcats, panthers and creeping insects also populate the reserve.
“If he’s there in the Carlton Reserve, he’s living in hell,” Burroughs said.
Laundry is a white man, five feet, eight inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with brown eyes, short brown hair and trimmed facial hair.
Anyone with information can get tips via the national hotline at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).
John Walsh has criticized the Florida police investigation
Law enforcement agencies have made several mistakes in the Petito case, John Walsh, the victims’ lawyer and host of the TV show “In Pursuit with John Walsh,” told USA Today on Wednesday.
Walsh said law enforcement should have and could legally request proof of Laundry’s life while he was at home in Florida.
“I understand the Fifth Amendment, I understand that Brian doesn’t want to talk to the police and his family doesn’t want to talk to the police, which is disgusting, but the police can ask for proof of life,” he said.
Walsh said officers should park cars on the street on either side of the laundry house and arrange for an unmarked vehicle to tail someone out of the house.
– Grace Hawk, USA Today
Contributed by: John Bacon, USA Today; Derek Gilliam, Sarasota Tribune
Contact News Reporter Christine Fernando now at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter Christinefern.