Long Island

Grieving Dad Shares NY Funeral Details for ‘Our Sweet Gabby' Petito; Service Open to Public

A candlelight vigil for the 22-year-old woman whose remains were found in a Wyoming national park last weekend was held Friday night in Long Island's Blue Point

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Gabby Petito's father, Joseph, has revealed funeral details for his 22-year-old daughter, whose remains were found in a Wyoming national park last weekend, eight days after her mother in New York reported her missing.

Services will be held at the Moloney Funeral Home in Long Island's Holbrook on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and be open to the public, Joseph Petito tweeted. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to an organization where Gabby Petito's mother has been a longtime volunteer and also serves as a board member.

Her father, still steeped in shock and grief, also thanked everyone from all corners of the country who flooded the Petito family with support these last few weeks.

A candlelight vigil for Petito was held Friday night at 7 p.m. in her hometown of Blue Point, where community members had held out hope she would be found alive. She was killed, a county coroner in Wyoming said this week, though exactly how -- and by whom -- remain matters of federal and local investigation.

As one childhood friend described Petito, "You walk into the room and she just lit up the entire room. She was always happy, always smiling. You'd never think anything like this would happen to her."

Petito went missing while on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie. Laundrie has been indicted on a debit card fraud charge, an alleged crime investigators say happened after Petito was dead.

Her story captured national interest as it generated a whirlwind of news coverage and a frenzy of online sleuthing, with tips, possible sightings and theories shared by the hundreds of thousands online. Josephine Zambrano of Bayport, Long Island, says she was one of those people because she felt for Petito as a mother herself.

"We all have children. Whether you have daughters like I do, or you have sons. Everybody's just upset," Zambrano said Thursday at a local memorial site.

Many visitors left a $20 dollar donation for sand, paper bags and candles. The items are the making of luminaries, a way to light up the night in Petito's honor. All the proceeds will be donated to the Petito family, organizers said.

Among many tributes left for Petito, teal ribbons now line the Blue Point street where she grew up. The ribbons were left by Jennifer McNamara, a Petito family friend and the founder of the Johnny Mac Foundation who created the nonprofit after her husband, FDNY firefighter John McNamara, died of 9/11-related cancer.

"I want people to look at the ribbon and remember Gabby. Think of her eyes and how beautiful, vibrant and sparkling she was," McNamara said.

Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, is a longtime volunteer and current Johnny Mac Board Member, according to McNamara.

“Gabby Petito has become America’s child,” she added.

On Sept. 11, the family of 22-year-old Gabby Petito reported her missing to authorities in Suffolk County, New York. This is a timeline of events that led to the report and things that have occurred since.
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