Gabby Petito Case: What Family and Friends are Leaving at 22-Year-Old’s Growing Memorial

by John Jamison

The site in North Port where Gabby Petito’s grieving family, friends, and supporters are leaving behind remembrances has become a full-fledged memorial. With each passing hour, the spot outside the North Port City Hall in Florida gets a little bigger.

Many of the people visiting didn’t know Gabby personally and want to pay their respects. Others are leaving behind everything from stuffed animals to pictures.

Gabby Petito’s death hit the community of North Port hard. Many of the first items places in the memorial are from community members who still hoped for the best before the autopsy confirmed the 22-year old had indeed died. Signs saying things like “Bring Gabby Petito Home!” can be seen throughout the remembrance site.

Since Sunday, however, the memorial has changed in tone. The new focus is bringing justice to Gabby in the wake of her apparent homicide. Some have left behind teddy bears, flowers, and even candles. Of course, Gabby Petito wasn’t born and raised in the Florida town. But that didn’t stop the locals from claiming her all the same.

“One of the amazing things about North Port is how we come together as a community when something like this happens. We just feel like she lived here and this is her community,” Meghan Mayer told WINK.

Gabby Petito’s story reaches far beyond the Florida community, however. People like Doreen Folk, from Petito’s native New York, made the trek down to Florida to pay their respects. Others were simply moved by the story.

“I just feel for her family and she reminded me of myself. She was a very vibrant, free spirit. I saw some things about free spirit on there. And when you see those personal things about Gabby, it hits home,” Marianne Grammar told WFLA 8.

The Support for Gabby Petito Has Not Gone Unnoticed By Her Family and Friends

The memorial is a touching tribute to a life lost too soon. But that’s not the only way people around the country are helping out. In fact, a GoFundMe started by a family friend of the Petito’s, Gary Rider, has raised over $80,000 at the time of this writing.

It began as a way to help find Gabby. It has since turned into a way to support the family while they deal with the expenses incurred by Gabby’s death.

“The worst fears of any parent have been realized with the recovery of Gabby. We are devasted and heartbroken. On behalf of the entire family, we send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed and donated to help in our search for Gabby. We still do not have the words that seem appropriate to truly express how grateful we are and how uplifting this support has been during this challenging time,” wrote Rider.