OGDEN, Utah — On the day human remains found in Wyoming were confirmed to be those of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, a small memorial began to take shape outside one of the last places she was seen in public.
Petito's final social media post on Aug. 25 included photos outside of The Monarch, a restaurant and retail space in Ogden, captioned "Happy Halloween."
The photos were posted not long before Petito and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, drove to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
On Sunday, a search by the FBI and local police agencies recovered human remains near a campground just outside the park's boundaries. The remains were confirmed Tuesday as Petito's and the cause of death classified as homicide.
Tuesday outside The Monarch, and along the same wall painted with a mural of monarch butterflies that Petito was photographed in front of, members of the community stopped by to add to a growing memorial to her. It included a framed photo of her, dozens of flowers, handwritten notes, candles, and more.
“I think of Gabby now when I see [the mural]," said Jake McMahon, who started the memorial. “I felt that we could pay some respect and some love to her family — and to her, of course.”
But McMahon said the gesture isn't just for Petito.
“This isn’t rare. This happens all the time, whether it's here locally, other cases like this might not get as much exposure, so the deeper meaning for me is since we did this yesterday, my Facebook has just been exploding with other cases that people have been sharing all over," he said.
McMahon plans to send the written notes to Petito's family.