Gabby Petito's Dad Urges Those Who Were Invested In Daughter's Case To Keep That Same Energy For Other Missing Persons
“And if you don’t do that for other people that are missing, that’s a shame, because it’s not just Gabby that deserves it," Petito's father said.
September 29, 2021 at 4:40 pm
Joseph Petito, the father of Gabby Petito, is calling on the public and media to put forth more energy toward other missing people cases. Petito's family held a press conference, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, urging those paying attention to help investigators locate other missing people.
Joe Petito says there are thousands of missing people who deserve the same attention as Gabby received. They are starting a foundation in her honor to help others find missing relatives #nbc4ny
— Pei-Sze Cheng (@PeiSzeCheng4NY) September 28, 2021
“I want to ask everyone to help all the people that are missing and need help. It’s on all of you, everyone that’s in this room to do that,” Joseph told reporters on Tuesday at the office of the family's lawyer in Long Island, New York.
“And if you don’t do that for other people that are missing, that’s a shame, because it’s not just Gabby that deserves it," he continued.
The mass attention from media into Petito's disappearance has prompted many to ask that the same attention also be applied to missing cases of Indigenous people and people of color. MSNBC host Joy Reid cited late journalist Gwen Ifill who defined the overall hysteria as "missing white woman syndrome."
The family held the conference as authorities continue the search for Gabby's fiancé and person of interest Brian Laundrie, who is said to be possibly hiding somewhere in the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County. Laundrie's parents reported him missing on Sept. 17, telling police that he went for a nature hike without taking his cell phone or any means of contact.
The Petito's family lawyer, Richard Stafford, called out the Laundrie family during the press conference for their lack of assistance in the search for Gabby, as he urged Laundrie to turn himself into the authorities.
“The Laundries did not help us find Gabby; they sure are not going to help us find Brian,” Stafford said. “For Brian, we’re asking you to turn yourself into the FBI or the nearest law enforcement agency.”
Joseph made the appearance alongside his wife Tara Petito and Gabby's mother Nicole Schmidt and her husband Jim Schmidt. The four of them each had matching tattoos in honor of their late daughter. ABC reports each person had the words "Let It Be" tattooed on their right forearm, a remembrance of her mantra, and the word "Believe" next to a flower on their left arm that they say Gabby designed before her death.
"I wanted to have her with me all the time," Nicole said of the tattoo. "I feel that this helps that."
The family held a memorial service for Gabby on Sunday in Long Island, where she and Laundrie were raised before moving to Florida. They also announced that they would be launching a foundation in her honor to assist those also looking for their missing loved ones.
“We need positive stuff to come from the tragedy that happened,” Joseph said. “We can’t let her name be taken in vain.”