Stepfather of victim Gabby Petito, 22, says her remains are still in Wyoming and belongings in Florida
The family of murdered 22-year-old Gabby Petito said on Tuesday that they still are not in possession of her remains, which are in Wyoming, nor her possessions, which are in Florida – where the young woman last lived with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, and his parents.
Gabby Petito, 22, disappeared last month and was found dead the weekend of 19 September near a Wyoming campsite; the cause of death was ruled homicide. She’d been on a cross-country trip in a converted van with her boyfriend, 23, whom she met growing up on Long Island.
Mr Laundrie disappeared last week and remains missing while authorities seek to talk to him in connection with his girlfriend’s murder. The victim’s family confirmed on Tuesday that her remains would stay in Wyoming for the time being as the investigation continues.
Her stepfather, Jim Schmidt, said Tuesday at a family news conference that relatives had not yet received any of the victim’s belongings from Florida, which is where she was living with the Laundries before she and her high school sweetheart embarked on their coast-to-coast journey – which the pair were documenting on social media.
It was not immediately clear if Ms Petito’s belongings in Florida were currently in the care of the Laundrie family or police, who have searched the missing man’s residence and taken away evidence. Requests for comment from police in North Port, Florida and the attorney for Ms Petito’s family were not immediately returned to The Independent on Tuesday. Her family held a memorial service for her on Long Island on Sunday.
Despite the lack of closure, Mr Schmidt said, his stepdaughter is “always with us every day, she is giving us signs. It’s difficult, you know, we have been talking – 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, we are a big family, we have a huge support network,” he continued. “And we are just going to keep pushing forward and living every day and loving every day because that is what Gabby did and that is what we need to do.”