‘I know how they feel’: Gabby Petito case unearths painful memories for St. Petersburg family

Pinellas County

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Ruthie Maynard-Jones has a unique perspective when it comes to the Gabby Petito case.

“I know how those parents feel. I know how they feel,” said Maynard-Jones. “You know, I really do. I really do.”

Ruthie Maynard-Jones wipes tears from her eyes as she remembers her daughter, “Rae.”

It was nearly two years ago when police say Ruthie’s ex, Stanley Jones, set fire to her home on 22nd Avenue North and then waited for her and her daughter Marqueita Maynard to arrive home when they were ambushed.

Police say Jones stabbed them both and although Ruthie survived, her daughter Marqueita, or Rae as her mom called her, died at the scene.

“I just want her here. I want to touch her. I want to kiss her. I want to rub her nose,” said Maynard-Jones. “I want her to jump on my back.”

Now, watching the Petito case unfold, she feels like she’s reliving the nightmare.

“It’s like feeling those stab wounds all over again. It’s just like, unknown,” said Maynard Jones. “It’s like I didn’t know where my daughter was.”

She believes the Petito family should not feel like they are alone.

“To Gabby’s family, you are in our prayers, we are with you,” said Maynard-Jones. “You are not alone, you are absolutely not alone. Support groups are so important.”

Maynard-Jones also has a message for Brian Laundrie’s parents.

“If you know where you’re baby is, you need to tell him to turn himself in,” said Maynard-Jones. “Whatever it is, whatever occurred, let it be sorted out. Because the pain everyone is experiencing. There’s absolutely no win in this situation.”

Jones is now facing numerous charges including first-degree murder, attempted murder, and arson for allegedly setting the house on fire.

If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.  CASA in Pinellas County also has a hotline (727-895-4912) and more resources on their website, www.casapinellas.org

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