Gabby Petito funeral: Dad warns about abusive relationships, says put 'yourself first'
"The entire planet knows this woman's name," said Joe Petito at his daughter's funeral on September 26 and he was right. Days after being found, Gabby Petito, 22, was laid to rest with a heartwarming and very crowded funeral at Long Island. Hundreds of mourners, including friends, family, first responders and strangers moved by her story all packed into the Moloney Holbrook Funeral Home to grieve Petito.
Joe also offered some valuable advice to those present, taking lessons from his daughter's strained relationship with her boyfriend and now fugitive Brian Laundrie. As we previously reported, the couple has "always had some drama" between them, but as recent events show, often it can escalate to deadly proportions. A fight in Moab, Utah, was just one of the several between the two during their trip. Eventually, it ended with her mysterious death and Laundrie's disappearance.
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Given those circumstances, Joe had some valuable advice for attendees while also celebrating his daughter and her love for life. "She had some wild experiences that I could only wish that I could experience," Joe rued. The service at Blue Point was accompanied by several blue ribbons, all scattered across the town in New York, as well as a large blue heart and an extremely large media presence.
Joe's advice to attendees
In his eulogy, Joe highlighted Gabby's love for adventure and travel. "She always wanted to go out and do stuff, whether it was scuba diving with my uncle, or myself or hiking the Appalachian trail, surfing sand dunes in Colorado," he noted. "To see that type of joy that brought her, and the stones it took to do that at such a young age," he continued, "I would like you to take a look at these videos and I want you to be inspired by them." He added, "I want you to take a look at these pictures, and I want you to be inspired by Gabby. If there's a trip you guys want to take, take it now. Do it now while you have the time."
He was also cautious to avoid discussing the exact circumstances of Gabby's death but didn't completely ignore it either. "If there is a relationship that you're in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now. Take care of yourself first," he warned. With Laundrie still at large, investigators haven't been able to piece together what exactly happened and how the in-love couple fell apart. As we have extensively reported, there were numerous warning signs, but they all appeared too late for Gabby.
Gabby's stepfather Jim Schmidt also offered some heartbreaking words. "Parents aren't supposed to bury their children," he noted while adding that none of the past funerals he planned "could have prepared me for this moment." Schmidt went on to say, "Gabby at 22 years old helped teach me that you could always make money but you can't make up for lost time. Gabby loved life and lived her life every single day. Every day. She is an example to all of us to live life, to enjoy every moment of this beautiful word that she did."
Petito's tattoo 'Let it be' also came up during the service. "we want to celebrate her and how she lived her life. We want you to hold onto all those memories that we shared with her because that will be the answer. Let it be," Jim said. A prayer card with a poem titled 'Let it be' was also passed around to attendees, while Jim read the verse "And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer. Let it be."