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Family Friend Of Gabby Petito Say Her Family Is Grateful For The Support After 'Worst Fears' Realized
“We still do not have the words that seem appropriate to truly express how grateful we are and how uplifting this support has been during this challenging time,” family friend Gary Rider stated following the discovery of Gabby Petito's remains.
A family friend of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito said that her family is grateful for all the public support they've received in the wake of her disappearance and death.
Autopsy results confirmed on Tuesday that remains discovered in Wyoming over the weekend are indeed the 22-year-old travel blogger and that she died by homicide. The exact cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.
“We still do not have the words that seem appropriate to truly express how grateful we are and how uplifting this support has been during this challenging time,” Gary Rider, who identified himself as a family friend, stated Monday on a GoFundMe page he had originally created to raise funds for search efforts.
He added, ”The worst fears of any parent have been realized with the recovery of Gabby. We are devastated and heartbroken.”
Petito was found on Sunday as investigators on the border of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where her mother last spoke to her on Aug. 25 via phone. She was road tripping with her 23-year-old boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who's been named a person of interest in her disappearance and has gone missing in Florida.
Laundrie returned to the home of his parents in Florida in Petito’s van on Sept. 1 without her; Petito's family, who live in New York, reported her missing 10 days later.
The Petito family is expected to make a statement after Gabby’s remains are brought home.
“I want to personally thank the press and news media for giving the Petito and Schmidt family time to grieve,” lawyer Richard Stafford said, according to WFLA in Florida. “We will be making a statement when Gabby is home.”
The FBI is seeking information from anyone who was at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Grand Teton National Park between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30 and who may have come into contact with the couple or seen Petito’s white 2012 Ford Transit van. The vehicle is registered to Petito with the Florida plate QFTG03 and has a variety of stickers slapped on the back. The FBI has shared a map of the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area.
"Anyone with information concerning Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI," Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider also said on Tuesday.
Multiple searches for him in Florida have turned up empty.
"The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media" will air on Oxygen on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c. It's also available to stream on Peacock now.