SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Gabby Petito’s family wants to pay it forward.
It’s their desire that all families whose loved one is missing will get the same publicity as Gabby Petito received.
“I don’t want to dismiss the hard work done by the FBI and law enforcement. but social media has been amazing and very influential and to be honest it should be done for other people to,” said Joe Petito during a family news conference Tuesday from New York.
It was the first time her parents and step-father appeared before the cameras in more than a week.
Sunday, the family came together at a memorial service in her home state of New York. But Gabby’s remains were not there. They were in Denver with the FBI.
“We wanted to bring her home immediately,” said Jim Schmidt, her stepfather. “But we understand their position and we know that she is safe with them.”
The only person of interest is Gabby’s fiance, Brian Laundrie, who is nowhere to be found. The FBI advised the family not to talk about Laundrie or his parents. But their attorney said the family will get justice.
“For the Laundrie silence, again, the Laundrie’s did not help us find Gabby and they sure will not help us find Brian,” said attorney Rick Stafford. “For Brian, we ask that you turn yourself in to the FBI.”
In an effort to pay tribute to Gabby, they displayed freshly created tattoos on their arms. Engraved were the words “Let it be.” It’s was one of Gabby’s favorite songs.
The family said they are overwhelmed by the amount of people from all across the country and parts of the world who paid tribute to their daughter.
“I just think people are inspired by her,” said her mother Nichole Schmidt. “It means a lot to me that she has touched so many lives already. I am so proud of her and keep it going, keep the light going.”
The Petitos said they plan to turn a negative into a positive by creating a foundation in Gabby’s name. Its purpose is to help other families who are suffering like them.
“We don’t stop remembering Gabby and keeping her name out there and fighting for people like her,” said Jim Schmidt. “She’s always with us every day and giving us signs.”