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'She's giving us signs:' Family members share memories of Gabby Petito

Petito Family.jpg
Posted at 10:58 AM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 16:18:05-04

BOHEMIA, N.Y. — A week after the remains of Gabby Petito were found in Wyoming, her family joined together at a news conference Tuesday to talk about the legacy the 22-year-old leaves behind.

READ: Bounty hunter says Brian Laundrie hid out in Florida campground

"She’s always with us every day, she’s giving us signs," said Jim Schmidt, Gabby's stepfather. "It’s difficult, we’ve been talking and where do you go from here? How do you go back to normal, whatever normal may be from here on out, but we have each other.”

Petito's mother, Nicole Schmidt, said one sign came Monday while driving behind a vehicle with a Wyoming sticker and the letters GBZ for "gabz" on the license plate.

The family thanked the public for the outpouring of support shown to them since Petito's disappearance.

“It’s hard to put into words, but it means a lot to me that she’s touched so many lives already and it’s only weeks into it and I’m so proud of her,” said Schmidt.

READ: FBI officially takes over search for Brian Laundrie in Florida

Although family members refused to talk about the continued disappearance of Petito's boyfriend, Brian Laundrie; their attorney shared low expectations for his family to help in the investigation.

“The Laundries did not help us find Gabby, they’re sure as not going to help us find Brian,” said Richard Stafford.

Petito's family showed off tattoos each of them received Monday, displaying art work created by Gabby with the words "Let it Be" and "Believe."

Along with applauding the efforts of law enforcement agencies across the country, the family said social media played a huge role in finding Petito and keeping her memory alive.

READ: Moab PD chief takes leave following outcry over department's handling of Petito incident

The Gabby Petito Foundation has been created to help those looking for missing children and adults cope with their disappearance.

“We need positive stuff to come from the tragedy that happened," said Joe Petito, Gabby's father. "We can’t let her name be taken in vain. We need positive stuff. So anything we can do to bring that up and help people, that’s what we want to do.”

Detailing how the last two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for all involved, Jim Schmidt explained how the family will continue to live life and honor Gabby's name.

“We’re just going to keep pushing forward and living every day, loving every day because that’s what Gabby did and that’s what we need to do.”