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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A small memorial for Gabby Petito is growing outside the North Port home of Brian Laundrie’s family.
People had been asked to honor Petito by leaving flowers at a memorial set up at North Port City Hall, but as CNN reports, people from around the country have been sending flowers directly to the Laundrie’s home.
“I wanted the memorial to Gabby to start in their (Laundries’) front yard because she lived there and then that exploded on Twitter, everybody was like ‘I want in,’ Stephanie Savage in Houston, Texas told CNN. “Initially, I just wanted some recognition for Gabby that she’s not going to be forgotten. I understand the focus right now is on the Laundrie family, but she was the ultimate victim here.”
“I felt compelled to participate because the silent treatment is a profound way to completely invalidate a victim … essentially denying their existence … and sending #flowersforgabby to the Laundrie family is a way of saying, we will not let you give Gabby and other victims the silent treatment,” Stephanie Harris, who also sent flowers to the home told the network. “She was here.”
North Port police spokesman Josh Taylor told CNN flowers started arriving at the home on Monday. He said the department has yet to receive any complaints, but if they do, they “will document and advise those impacted to contact the flower company and request to cease deliveries.”
Lilith Cain told CNN she decided to send flowers from Springville, Indiana after hearing about the plan from a Facebook group for domestic violence survivors.
“We all jumped on board, spreading the hashtag across all social media, hoping to fill the entire lawn,” she said. “It was a way to keep pressure on the Laundries, but in a beautiful way that memorializes Gabby. Peaceful protest, so to speak.”
Petito was remembered at a public memorial service in New York on Sunday with several friends and family members making speeches.
“Gabby is the most amazing person I’ve ever met,” her father, Joseph Petito said in his eulogy. “I’m asking that you guys to be inspired by the way she treated people, all people…She genuinely loved people.”
Brian Laundrie remains a person of interest in Petito’s death. The FBI last week said the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Laundrie in relation to a grand jury indictment for his “activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito,” and alleged that Laundrie “knowingly and with intent to defraud, used one or more unauthorized access devices, namely a Capitol One Bank debit card” and personal identification numbers for two accounts.
The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips about the case. Those with information are being asked to call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).