Hundreds of mourners flocked to a funeral home in Long Island to mourn Gabby Petito whose life was cut short after a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie.
Her grieving father Joe Petito stood in front of a golden urn at the Moloney Holbrook Funeral Home and gave a heartbreaking eulogy.
“The entire planet knows this woman’s name,” he said.
“She always wanted to go out and do stuff, whether it was scuba diving with my uncle, or myself or hiking the Appalachian trail, surfing sand dunes in Colorado,” the father continued.
“She had some wild experiences that I could only wish that I could experience.
“To see that type of joy that brought her, and the stones it took to do that at such a young age. I would like you to take a look at these videos and I want you to be inspired by them.”
Petito’s remains were found at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and her death has been ruled a homicide.
Her now missing boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, has been named the ‘person of interest.’
During the visitation, Petito’s father did not talk about the circumstances of his daughter’s death but gave advice for people in toxic relationships.
“If there’s a relationship you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it,” Joe Petito expressed.
“Take care of yourself first.”
“Gabby is the most amazing person I’ve ever met,” he tearfully said. “So if you’re going to leave here today, I’m asking you guys to be inspired by the way she treated people, all people …. She genuinely loved people.”
Joe Petito smiled as he talked about his love for his daughter. He said that when he would ground her, she would cry and he would always fall for it.
“She actually would do that on purpose just so I’d take her off grounding,” he laughed.
Petito’s stepfather Jim Schmidt, a former local fire chief, said he had planned and attended funerals before, but that “not one of them could have prepared me for this moment.”
“Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children,” Schmidt said, adding he wanted the gathering to be a celebration of Gabby’s life.
“Gabby at 22 years old helped teach me that you could always make money but you can’t make up for lost time,” Schmidt continued.
“Gabby loved life and lived her life every single day. Every day. She is an example to all of us to live life, to enjoy every moment of this beautiful word that she did.”
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