Gabby Petito’s Dad Opens Domestic Violence Shelter: ‘It’s What People Need’

by Allison Hambrick

Joseph Petito, father of the late Gabby Petito, gave an update on how the family is coping with her tragic loss as well as how they’re honoring her.

In fall of 2021, Gabby went missing after going on a road trip with boyfriend Brian Laundrie. Her body was later recovered in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI determined that Laundrie had murdered Gabby; however, he committed suicide before he could be arrested.

Joseph explained that the family is doing well as a unit and that they are channeling their grief into helping others. Recently, the grieving father oversaw the opening of a SafeSpace shelter in Vero Beach, Florida.

“It’s not what I need. It’s what people need,” Joseph said, The Sun reports. “The statistics speak for themselves. 1 in 3 women, 1 in 5 men, 10 to 20 million kids a year. When you do the math on that you’re talking 100 million people. There are only 350 million Americans in the United States. So you’re talking just under one-third of the nation…We want everyone to get the same attention that Gabby got.”

While he raised the funding through the Gabby Petito Foundation, SafeSpace is a different nonprofit. Their goal is to provide safety and support to victims of domestic violence and their children.

Joseph Petito Discusses Gabby’s Legacy

“I think Gabby is going to live on through everyone,” Joseph continued. “Her story went so far. I think she will live on through so many of us because more and more people are being found. More and more people are speaking up on their own violence that is happening to them and to their children. … And that’s a great thing but we still got more to do.”

Turning his attention to SafeSpace, Joseph praised the work that the nonprofit does. The shelter, dedicated in honor of Gabby Petito, provides shelter, food, clothing, financial guidance, therapy, and even job placement services for victims.

“This is amazing,” said the grieving father. “It really is outstanding. I can’t believe the work that’s gotten done since I was here last. This is a traumatic event that happens to these individuals. And to have so many people, you don’t really want that all the time. So to have your private space that you can go to and really, just, cry, process, go through the range of emotions that happen. Cause it’s a lot.

“At the end of the day, it is a refuge to do good and help people move forward. And that’s the goal,” concluded Joseph.