Great Britain

Gabby Petito’s father announces new charity to help parents find missing children as family gathers for funeral

The father of Gabby Petito has announced a new charity in her name, which will be dedicated to helping families locate their missing children.

Joseph Petito said the Gabby Petito Foundation would provide resources and guidance to families trying to bring their children home.

“No one should have to find their child on their own,” he said, announcing the new charity on Twitter on Saturday.

“We are looking to help people in similar situations as Gabby,” Mr Petito said, before adding the hashtag #gabbypetito and a link to the foundation’s website.

The website is still under construction, and a note on the site says: “In response to the overwhelming outreach, we are establishing the Gabby Petito Foundation. Please come back and visit as we develop a mission statement to move forward in Gabby's memory.”

It will be based in Ms Petito’s hometown of Blue Point, New York.

“Gabby's family is grateful for everyone's support & takes comfort that she has touched so many lives,” the charity’s site says.

A memorial service for Ms Petito, 22, is being held in Long Island on Sunday.

From 12pm to 5pm, friends, family and members of the public will attend the memorial at Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home in Suffolk County.

Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home released a touching video tribute to Ms Petito ahead of the memorial, which is being live-streamed..

Family have asked that donations are made to the new charity in lieu of flowers.

Ms Petito’s remains were discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming a week ago.

A manhunt for her missing boyfriend Brian Laundrie is in its second week, with police continuing to scour an alligator-infested reserve near his parent’s home in North Port Florida.

A scaled-back police search team returned to the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, on Saturday where the missing man told family he was going for a hike last Tuesday.

He left home without his cellphone or wallet, family attorney Steve Bertolino said, and rumours of possible sightings have been flooding social media. So far, none of the sightings have been confirmed.

The search for Mr Laundrie received a boost on Saturday in the form of reality TV star Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman.

Mr Chapman showed up at the North Port home of Christopher and Roberta Laundrie on Saturday afternoon.

Arriving in a 4WD vehicle shortly before 4.30pm, he knocked on the front door of the house and when no one answered, spent a few minutes at the property before getting back in his vehicle.

He earlier released a statement to say he and wife Francie Frane were throwing themselves into the investigation.

“Dog and Francie have experienced extreme loss themselves,” the statement read.

A massive manhunt is underway across several states after Mr Laundrie was formally charged with fraudulently using a debit card in the days after Ms Petito went missing. The indictment allowed an arrest warrant to be issued against Mr Laundrie, the FBI said.

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