Great Britain

Gabby Petito’s dad asks funeral-goers to ‘be inspired’ & says he couldn’t be ‘more proud’ as service held in Long Island

GABBY Petito's father asked funeral-goers to be "inspired" by his daughter and said he couldn't be "more proud" as a service was held in Long Island.

A funeral was held Sunday in Holbrook, New York, after 22-year-old Petito's remains were found in Wyoming a week earlier.

During the emotional service, her father Joe Petito thanked everyone for their support in the wake of his daughter's disappearance.

She was last seen in August while she and boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were traveling across the country in a van together.

Laundrie returned home to Florida on September 1 without Petito, and she was reported missing on September 11. Laundrie has since gone missing.

Joe Petito also asked the mourners at his daughter's funeral not to be sad, but instead to be "inspired" by the young woman.

"When you leave here today, be inspired by what she brought to the table," he said.

"Because the entire planet knows this woman's name now, and she's inspired a lot of women and a lot of men to do what's best for them first.

"Put yourself first and do it now while you have the time. I couldn't be more proud as a father."

Petito's stepfather Jim Schmidt also spoke at the service, and reminded mourners of a tattoo she had on her arm that was inspired by a favorite song of hers, Let It Be by The Beatles.

Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates...

"It's OK to mourn for Gabby, and it's OK to feel sorrow and pain," he said.

"But we want to celebrate her and how she lived her life.

"We need to hold on to all those wonderful memories we shared with her because that will be the answer. Let it be."

The funeral comes as authorities are still searching for Laundrie, 23, who vanished last weekend before Petito's remains were found.

Her death has since been ruled a homicide.


Laundrie's family said he vanished as well on September 14, and authorities have been searching for him in a Florida nature reserve.

Police believe that he swiped Petito's Capital One debit card and ran up a $1,000 balance from August 31 until September 1 when he arrived back in Florida.

Laundrie's parents reported their son missing on September 17, and said they last saw him three days earlier.

They said he left their home to go hiking, taking his backpack with him.

Search and rescue efforts started last weekend after FBI crews, cops and K9s were deployed to try and locate him.

Dog the Bounty Hunter has since joined the search and said he's getting phone calls to his anonymous tip line every two or three minutes.

A lot of the information he's received points to the Appalachian Trail, he said.

"If there’s anywhere out there that looks the hottest, that could be the area," Dog said.

"I think he’s young enough, not an experienced criminal, but what is his greatest experience? Outdoorsman - that’s what he does the best.

"I don’t think he can shoplift, live on the run, live in cheap hotels. On a one-to-10 he’s probably a six, compared to the outdoorsmen and some of the guys I’ve captured."

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