Petito’s father: Give the same attention to all missing persons
NEW YORK (AFP) – The family of murdered traveler Gabe Pettito on Tuesday appealed to the public and the news media to expend the same energy to help find missing persons as they did Pettito, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend.
Pettito’s parents and stepmothers Speaking to reporters at a press conference In New York – flaunting her new tattoos based on her designs and her slogan “Let it be” – as authorities in Florida continue to search for her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who is someone concerned about her disappearance and remains unaccounted for.
Pettito’s family attorney, Richard Stafford, renewed calls for Laundry to turn himself in and criticized his parents for what he said was a lack of cooperation in the search for Pettito’s remains. Laundries released a statement Monday saying they did not help him escape.
“The laundries didn’t help us find Gabe, they certainly wouldn’t help us find Brian,” Stafford said. “For Brian, we ask that you turn yourself in to the FBI or the nearest law enforcement agency.”
petit The body was discovered September 18 in a remote area of northwest Wyoming. A memorial service was held Sunday on Long Island, where Laundry and Pettito grew up before moving to Florida in recent years. Her family announced that she has started a foundation to support people who are looking for their missing loved ones.
Pettito’s case has led to renewed calls for people to pay more attention to cases involving missing Aboriginal women and other people of color, with some commentators describing the extensive coverage of her disappearance as “Missing White Woman Syndrome.”
Joseph Pettito thanked the news media and social media for highlighting his daughter’s disappearance, but said all the missing deserve the same attention.
“I want to ask everyone to help all the people who are missing and who need help. It is up to all of you, everyone in this room to do it,” he said, pointing to reporters and cameras in front of him. “And if you don’t do it with the other missing people, it’s a shame, because Gabe isn’t alone in deserving of it.”
The search for Laundry is generating a frenzy, too, with TV characters like Duane Chapman – better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter – and longtime “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh working to track him down.
Stafford said Pettito’s family welcomed everyone’s help in finding Laundry and encouraged people with information on his whereabouts to contact the FBI or local police.
Pettito’s disappearance on September 11 was reported by her parents after she did not return calls and texts for several days while she and Londry were visiting parks in the West.
Her death was ruled a homicide, meaning she was killed by someone else, but authorities in Wyoming have not revealed the cause of her death pending further autopsy results. Pettito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, said Wyoming state authorities are still in possession of her remains.
Petito and Laundrie posted online about their ride in a white Ford Transit truck that has been converted into a buggy. They got into a physical altercation on August 12 in Moab, Utah, which led to a police halt, which ended with the police deciding to separate the arguing couple overnight. No charges were brought and no serious injuries were reported.
Detectives were searching for Laundry in Florida, and searched his parents’ home in Northport, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Sarasota.
Last week, Wyoming federal officials charged Laundrie with unauthorized debit card use, alleging that he used someone’s Capital One Bank card and PIN to make unauthorized withdrawals or fees of more than $1,000 during the period Petito disappeared. They did not say to whom the card belongs.
Joseph Pettito said the Gabe Pettito Foundation is in its formative stages and will seek to fill any gaps that exist in the work to find missing persons. He said they will work with organizations that help them, such as the AWARE Foundation and We Help The Missing.
“We need positive things that come from the tragedy that happened,” Joseph Pettito said. “We can’t let her name go to waste.”