Still reeling from the shock and grief of his daughter Gabby’s tragic disappearance and death, Joseph Petito has announced funeral plans that include an opportunity for members of the public to pay tribute to the 22-year-old who went missing earlier this month, as New York NBC affiliate station WNBC reports.
According to a Friday tweet from Petito, services for “sweet Gabby” will take place on Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. in Holbrook, Long Island at the Moloney Funeral Home, with the proceedings open to the general public.
Those wishing to make a tangible expression of support to the family are encouraged, according to Petito, to make a donation to the Johnny Mac Foundation, an organization for which Gabby’s mother has served as a volunteer and board member, rather than sending flowers.
In advance of funeral services, a candlelight vigil was also set to take place on Friday evening in Blue Point, New York Gabby’s hometown, where locals had continued throughout the last few weeks to pray for her safe return.
National interest in Gabby Petito’s story reached fever pitch after her disappearance began making headlines in mid-September, with amateur investigators and theorists working to solve the mystery of what happened to the young woman who had embarked on a road trip out west with fiance Brian Laundrie.
Not long after a body matching Petito’s description was found in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the remains were identified as belonging to the missing woman, and her death was ruled a homicide by the local coroner, as Reuters noted.
Law enforcement authorities in Florida remain in the midst of a manhunt for Laundrie, who is now considered a fugitive after returning home without Petito, refusing to provide information about her disappearance, and subsequently vanishing from sight himself.
Though millions are hoping that Laundrie is found and not only answers – but also justice – can be obtained for the Petito family, this weekend is rightly a time for friends, family, and even those who did not know her personally to pay tribute to the departed victim of what increasingly looks to have been a truly heinous crime.
As Petito family friend Jennifer McNamara – who left teal ribbons along the Long Island street where the young woman was raised – put it this week, “ I want people to look at the ribbon and remember Gabby. Think of her eyes and how beautiful, vibrant and sparkling she was.”