Nearly a month after Gabby Petito was reported missing, her family has visited Florida for the very first time. Petito’s mother left her home in New York and traveled south to Florida in the height of the search for missing fiancé Brian Laundrie.
Gabby Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, tweeted out a photo of a heart-shaped cloud on Sunday in the sky as she and her family were departing Florida. She captioned the post, “Goodbye Florida… thank you for showing us so much LOVE! #justiceforgabby #justiceforgabbypetito #americasdaughter.”
Schmidt has expressed her thanks and gratefulness to all who have showed the family support throughout this case. In addition, Schmidt posted a picture of the memorial on her Instagram page thanking supporters.
On Saturday, the family was given a plaque that called Petito, “America’s Daughter.”
As the daughter of Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Gabby Petito is the oldest of six siblings and half-siblings. Her younger brother TJ Schmidt is the only sibling with whom Petito shares both parents. TJ shares his grief with his parents saying, “I don’t even know what to say. I’m a total loss. #justiceforgabby.”
During their stay, the family visited a memorial for Gabby arranged at North Port City Hall. Petito had been living there with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, and his parents. City officials say they’re working to establish a permanent memorial for the influencer due to unsuitable conditions. Local resident Denise Cato says it’s weighing down on the community hard and she can’t stop thinking about this “horrific situation.”
The family told WFLA, “We’d like to thank the people of North Port and the people of Florida for their love and support. We were in awe at the memorial, and it was emotional for us to be there. We thank you all for growing the memorial for Gabby and allowing us the privacy our family needed during that day.”
The Search for Brian Laundrie Continues
The search for fiance Brian Laundrie is still underway. Police are now saying that they’re unsure if Laundrie is alive or deceased, and it remains unclear. The FBI is still searching the Carlton Reserve, where his parents say he embarked on a hike there on September 13th. Early last week, Laundrie’s father, Chris, was invited to join the search but returned home later that day.
Gabby Petito’s mother has been open since the start of her daughter’s search, even screaming, “Where’s my daughter?” at a detective. She says that the couple called off their engagement before embarking on their cross-country trip. She says, “I think they kind of put that on hold just because they felt it was a little fast. They were excited at first, but then they were like, let’s just wait, we’re very young. So they were really just boyfriend and girlfriend.”
The search continues today as Brian Laundrie is still on the run.