Gabby Petito's father shares pic of smiling daughter in touching tribute as body found

Joseph Petito shared the photo of his daughter standing in front of a wall mural of multicolored wings after her alleged remains were found

                            Gabby Petito's father shares pic of smiling daughter in touching tribute as body found
Gabby Petito's father Joseph (L) shared a tribute after daughter's remains were discovered (Twitter: @josephpetito)

The search for missing vlogger Gabby Petito came to an end after authorities announced that a body matching her description had been recovered in the Bridger Teton National Park, Wyoming. While the forensic examination is yet to be completed and no cause of death has been determined at the moment, police are pretty confident that the remains are those of the missing 22-year-old. They informed her family first before revealing the discovery through a news conference. Amid growing suspicion around Petito's fiance Laundrie, a post from her father Joseph Petito left the internet heartbroken.

Laundrie has been facing a trial by social media ever since he returned alone from the cross-country road trip he and Petito had left for in July. Petito was last heard from on August 26, via a text to her mother Nichole Schmidt that claimed there was "No service in Yosemite." Shortly after, Laundrie returned to his Florida home with the same van he and Petito were traveling in, and he immediately lawyered up. Laundrie, who has been reported to be missing since last Tuesday, September 14, had also refused to cooperate with authorities to help them find Petito. Her father Joseph's touching tribute to her has left many moved and asking for justice.


Where is Brian Laundrie? FBI and police searching for Gabby Petito's boyfriend

Gabby Petito showed 'victim behavior' in bodycam video, say domestic violence experts

Joseph Petito, who describes himself as a father of three and sales supervisor for Time Warner Cable in his Twitter bio, became active on Twitter since September 18 with a plea to help him find his daughter. Few tweets later, in the late hours of September 19, Joseph shared the heartbreaking photo of his daughter standing in front of what looks like a wall mural of multicolored wings. The photo gives an illusion of Petito with wings on her back - the angel connotation that several of Joseph's 40.3K followers picked up on. In the caption he wrote: "#GABBYPETITO she touched the world." There was a broken red heart at the beginning of the text.

Smiling, with her blonde hair tied up in a high ponytail, rosy-cheeked Petito looks relaxed in the photo. Wearing a grey and white striped hoodie and pale blue ripped jeans, Petito is seen looking at the distance, away from the camera, with a brown sling bag on her shoulder, sunglasses on her head, and nails painted white. It's a stark contrast from the latest video released by Moab police where they answered a domestic disturbance call and pulled Petito and Laundrie's van over. That is the last known recording of Petito and sees her mid-breakdown, struggling to explain the situation through sobs while her fiance, Laundrie, spoke to the cops with bright smiles.


It is unclear when the photo shared by Joseph is from, but social media did not care much. Twitter users poured in with messages of condolence and support, assuring the grieving father that justice will be served. "The whole country was looking for Gabby. She was America's daughter. I'm so so sorry. May she rest in peace," wrote one user. Another chimed in: "Heartbreaking news. I know all of America was rooting for the safe and miraculous return of Gabby Petito. That body cam video from police told a very sad story. She was in danger. It was a cry for help. Her fiancé is guilty AF. Disappeared. Went silent. Justice for Gabby."

Petito's potential encounter with domestic violence also resonated with many. "I'm so sorry for your loss. She's every girl, every woman who's felt the fear Who knew it was bad but not how much Who didn't feel safe but still had hope Who cried pain away thinking things have to get better She lives on in every girl & every woman, as strength, light & love,"one user wrote.

Another claimed: "Heartbreaking. She’s such a beautiful soul! 15 years ago at age 22 I was in an abusive narcissistic relationship, I saw it in the body cam video immediately. Gabby will help countless DV victims & save lives, she has shined a bright light on the world. God bless you & your family."





Several called Petito an inspiration, claiming her story has united people all over the world. "IM SO SORRY!! IM LITERALLY CRYING! She UNITED the world! She inspired the WORLD! A beautiful soul who will never be forgotten. Her life has inspired the world! Please know her legacy has left a place in all our hearts for life! There are no words. Forever in our hearts!" replied one user. 

Others offered Joseph solace from the point of view of a parent going through loss of a child. "Like all fathers with daughters, something like this is the very worst nightmare. I hope that you can find some peace in knowing how much Gabby has touched us all. “If only, …” will haunt. Move beyond. Difficult, but needed. Nobody can alone. Consider professional help," replied one person. "Prayers are going up for you and your family. I can’t imagine what you all are going through at this time. I pray they find the person responsible for what has happened to your beautiful, sweet Gabby. May the Lord Jesus wrap his loving arms around you and bring you peace," wrote another.




The desire for justice in the case also seemed very common among people pouring in with messages for Joseph. "I am so sorry, Mr. Petito. I truly am. I know there are no words that can ease your pain and your family’s pain. I’m sorry. Justice will come for your daughter, I’m sure of it. I pray for you and your family. We love you guys," wrote one user.

Another left a long message split into three different tweets, beginning with: "Mr Petito, I am deeply sorry for your loss of Gabby. From Portland Oregon, the planned final destination of Gabby, My heart goes out to you and your family and Gabby’s mom and stepfather and stepmother. And to Gabby’s siblings and friends. Justice will be served. RIP Gabby."

The user further added: "Words cannot describe how the country is now feeling for you and your family Mr Petito. Tonight I will turn on the lights on the north facing side of my house, so Gabby’s soul and spirit can always find her way home and back to you." The user concluded: "That will be my tribute to Gabby. (follow up) This is my way of helping Gabby finish her journey to Portland, and then helping Gabby find her way back home again. May Gabby Rest In Peace, and God Bless."