Joseph Petito, the father of the late van-life influencer Gabby Petito, is remembering everyone who helped support his family one year after his daughter’s body was found.
On Instagram, Joseph sent a message to all the people who gathered together to bring awareness to his missing daughter and offer tips that eventually led to the police finding her buried in Bridger-Teton National Forest.
“I want to thank everyone for the love and support you have shown our families,” he penned. “It’s because of all of you we were able to bring #Gabbypetito home.”
Joseph went on to ask his followers to continue helping other families bring their missing loved ones home by keeping their stories alive on social media.
“Today is particularly hard for us,” he continued. “But if you can, please take a moment and share a #missingpersons story to help bring them home safe. Every story deserves the same attention.”
Along with the caption, Joseph shared a picture of Gabby Petito and her younger brother, TJ Schmidt, posing in matching New York Jets jerseys.
“Yes I shared this picture because the @nyjets won yesterday,” he wrote before adding “#togetherwecan.”
Gabby Petito’s Family in a Legal Battle With Brian Laundrie’s Parents
Gabby Petito’s body was found following a month-long missing person’s search. The 22-year-old had gone on a cross-country trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie. He returned without her, claiming he did not know where she was. He shortly went missing himself. And it was later revealed through a written notebook confession that he had murdered her.
“I ended her life,” he allegedly wrote. “I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted. But I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked, I was in shock.”
Laundrie was found dead on October 21, 2021. An autopsy found that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Gabby Petito’s parents are currently embroiled in a legal battle against Brian’s parents, Christopher and Roberta. In a civil suit, they claimed that the two knew their son had killed Gabby. And they helped him hide after reporting him missing. They also believe that the Laundries planned on helping Brian “leave the country.”
In June, the Laundries asked a court to dismiss the lawsuit, but the judge denied the motion. Their attorney, Steven Bertolino shared that the Laundries “will continue to use all available legal means to preserve their rights” as the case moves forward.
Gabby Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, also filed a wrongful death suit against Brian’s estate and is seeking $30,000 in damages. As of yet, no trial date is set.