The late Gabby Petito's father, Joe Petito, delivered a moving eulogy during his daughter's Sunday funeral, warning against the dangers of toxic relationships and proclaiming that he is now "traveling the path the Lord has taken me."
Petito's family and friends gathered at Long Island's Moloney Holbrook Funeral Home to pay their last respects to the 22-year-old. Gabby disappeared during a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who returned from the trip earlier in September in her van — but without her. Authorities discovered her remains in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming earlier this month and determined that she was a victim of homicide.
Laundrie, who remains a person of interest in the case, disappeared soon after her family filed a missing persons report. Laundrie's whereabouts remain unknown at the time of this reporting as investigators continue a manhunt for him.
What are the details?
According to a Monday report from Faithwire, a prayer card handed out at the service read, "Do not grieve for me, for I am free. I am traveling a path the Lord has taken me. Be not burdened with times of sorrow. I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow. Perhaps my time seemed too brief. Do not lengthen it with undue grief. Lift up your hearts and share with me the memories that will always be."
Various reports note that hundreds of mourners showed up to pay their respects to Gabby.
During the service, Joe said, “I don't want you guys to be sad. Gabby didn't live that way. That wasn't her way. ... If you knew Gabby, she was always a happy girl. People would gravitate to her, her nature was always to smile and treat everybody kind. She always made people feel welcome. ... She always treated people with respect. It didn't really matter. ... She cared."
He advised anyone who might be in a toxic relationship to use his daughter's situation as an example and to honor her life by leaving.
"I want you to take a look at these pictures, and I want you to be inspired by Gabby," he said. "That's what we're looking for; that's something that I want to see. If there's a trip you guys want to take, take it. Now. Do it now, while you have the time. If there is a relationship that you're in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it. Now."
Gabby's stepfather, Jim Schmidt — who also spoke at the service — also lamented the loss of a daughter and said, “My grandmother told me — she's going to be 100 next month — when we buried my mom earlier this year, 'Parents aren't supposed to bury their children. That's not how life is supposed to work, but it is an unfortunate reality.'"
“Gabby, at 22 years old, helped teach me that you can always make money, but you can't make up for lost time," he continued. “Gabby loved life and lived her life every single day. ... She is an example for all of us to live life, to enjoy every moment in this beautiful world that she did. Love and give love, like she did."
Gabby Petito's father, stepfather speak at funeralwww.youtube.com