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HOLBROOK, N.Y. — Hundreds of mourners on Long Island stood in a line that wrapped around the block to attend a public memorial service for Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito on Sunday.
Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, delivered a eulogy and remembered his beloved daughter as an adventurous spirit who was the light of his life.
“I want you to take a look at these pictures and I want you to be inspired by them … If there’s a trip you want to take, take it. Now. Do it now while you’ve got the time. If there is a relationship that you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now,” he said. “Gabby is the most amazing person I’ve ever met … I’m asking you guys to be inspired by the way she treated people, all people … She genuinely loved people … When you leave here today, be inspired by what she brought to the table … I couldn’t be more proud, as a father.”
Petito, 22, was born and raised on Long Island. Her family lives in Blue Point.
Petito was reported missing by her parents on Sept. 11 after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while she and her fiancé Brian Laundrie, 23, were on a cross-country camping trip out West.
After the missing persons report was filed, police discovered Laundrie had returned to his parents home in North Port, Florida, alone in the van on Sept. 1. He later became a person of interest after he refused to cooperate with investigators.
On Sept. 17, Laundrie’s parents told investigators they had not seen their son since Sept. 14. Police continued to search for him on Sunday, as Petito’s family prepared to lay her to rest.
Petito’s body was found in a remote area of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19. Her death was deemed a homicide, meaning it was caused by another person. How she was killed was not disclosed by the medical examiner, pending further autopsy results.
Law enforcement officials have since issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie. He allegedly used a debit card and PIN to buy more than $1,000 worth of items between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, according to the indictment.
His family’s attorney noted the warrant is not for Petito’s death.
“While this arrest warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” the FBI said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.