The parents of Gabby Petito have spoken out to honor their daughter amid the ongoing search for Brian Laundrie.
The family held a press conference in New York on Tuesday, September 28, where they asked the missing person of interest in their daughter’s death to turn himself in to law enforcement.
“Brian, we’re asking you to turn yourself in to the FBI or the nearest law enforcement agency,” the family’s lawyer, Richard Stafford, said during the press conference.
Stafford also said that Gabby’s parents weren’t expecting the Laundrie family to help in the process of locating the missing 23-year-old.
“The Laundries did not help us find Gabby, they’re sure not going to help us find Brian,” Stafford insisted.
However, the family’s attorney didn’t have any comments when asked about the family’s opinion over the involvement of the Laundrie family in their son’s disappearance.
Gabby’s parents, Joe and Tara Petito, and Jim and Nicole Schmidt, were in attendance for the event, where they announced that they would be starting The Gabby Petito Foundation to help others find their missing loved ones.
The four grieving parents also revealed that they got matching tattoos in honor of Gabby, as they all showed the new ink on their arms that was inspired by their late daughter’s designs for her own tattoos.
When asked about Gabby’s body, her step-dad informed the press that their daughter’s body was still in Wyoming with the coroner.
“Part of our goal was we wanted to bring her home as quickly as possible, but it’s important for the FBI, the Teton County Sheriffs, the Teton County Coroner's office to hold onto her for as long as they need,” Jim said after taking a deep breath.
“We want to make sure that no matter we do not impede their investigation in any way. We wanted her home immediately but we understand her position and we know she’s safe with them,” he continued. “It was a very tough decision to have to make to come home, but we felt that it was important to come home to mourn her and celebrate her life … and when they’re ready to release her, we’ll be bringing her home.”
Gabby’s father, Joe, also spoke out about how helpful social media has been in the process of locating their daughter after she was originally reported missing on September 11.
“I don’t want to dismiss the ridiculously hard work that the FBI and law enforcement all around did, but social media has been amazing, and very influential. And to be honest it should continue for other people too,” he said.
“This same time of heightened awareness should be continued for everyone, and that goes for you all too,'' he said while addressing the reporters on the scene.