'She touched the world': Family, friends pay tribute to Gabby Petito at New York funeral

Sunday services were held in New York for Gabby, a 22-year old blogger who was murdered while on cross-country adventures. This sparked intense national interest and prompted a manhunt for her missing fianc.
There was a line of mourners that wrapped around the funeral home, and several groups of firefighters could be seen filing past. Each fire truck was positioned on its own side of the building with its ladder raised.

A chain link fence was placed across the street with posters that featured Petitos' image and messages.

Joseph Petito, Petito's father, said to the crowd at the funeral home on Sunday that the day was all about remembering his daughter and not reveling in her death.

"When you leave today, take inspiration from what she brought to this table. The entire world knows her name now. According to NBC New York, she said that she has inspired a lot women and men to do the right thing for their families. "I couldn’t be prouder as a father."

Jim Schmidt, her stepfather, shared a similar message. "It's okay for Gabby to grieve, and it is okay to feel sorrow, and pain." We want to remember her life and celebrate her achievements.

According to NBC New York, Schmidt stated that his stepdaughter was an example for all of us as she enjoyed adventure and "every minute" in this beautiful world.

The services were held near Holbrook, New York. This is where Petito was born and where he became the high school sweetheart to Brian Laundrie.

People gather for a viewing at the funeral home for Gabby Petito, Holbrook, N.Y. Sunday, September 26, 2021.

Laundrie was last seen on 12 days ago. He told his parents he was hiking in the Carlton Reserve. This vast wilderness and wetland is near his North Port home. The reserve area has been under surveillance by authorities for over a week. They returned this weekend.

Duane Lee Chapman (TV personality, Dog the Bounty Hunter), joined the search and promised to capture Laundrie before his birthday, Nov. 18. Chapman was seen Saturday knocking on the doors of the house Petito and Laundrie shared.

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He said, "The reason why I went to Mr. Christopher Laundrie was because I have a reputation with him," Fox News Digital later reported. "The reputation is that he gives you another chance. He's going to get you, but he gives your second chance.

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According to Chapman, he isn't convinced that Laundrie is located in the reserve of 25,000 acres. He claimed that he has received hundreds of tips via his hotline suggesting that Laundrie is on the Appalachian Trail, where he used to camp for several months.

Chapman said to the Post, "That's exactly what he does. He's a wilderness guy."

Laundrie, 23 years old, left Long Island in July with Petito on a long journey to Oregon. Laundrie returned to Florida on her own Sept. 1. Petito's body was discovered near a Wyoming campground a week ago.

Laundrie refused contact with law enforcement during Petito's search, and he vanished before Petito's body was discovered. The U.S. District of Wyoming released Thursday's indictment accusing Laundrie of unauthorized usage of a Capital One debit and other accounts involving over $1,000.

Laundrie is also charged with unauthorized access to a device in the indictment. He was accused of using bank accounts without permission between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.

USA TODAY Opinion - Gabby Petito's tragic death is shocking. What about the rest?

This article first appeared on USA TODAY: Gabby's case: Family and friends pay respect at New York funeral