Even people who did not know Gabby Petito feel affected by her story, and strangers are showing that through a growing memorial for Petito near North Port City Hall.
People spent Monday dropping off flowers, teddy bears and photos of Petito. Some locals just stopped by to pay their respects, saying that even though she was not born in North Port, the community still loves her.
“One of the amazing things about North Port is how we come together as a community when something like this happens,” said Meghan Mayer. “We just feel like she lived here and this is her community.”
“We’re going to miss Gabby,” said Dan Barry.
Some feel fear because this case has connections right in their backyard, with Petito’s fiancé Brian Laundrie having lived in North Port with his parents. Others feel sad for her and her family. Some even feel like they’ve crossed paths with her before. One woman said
Petito’s story hits home for her.
“I feel hurt,” said Linda Mock. “I feel sad for the family. My heart goes out to the family. Anger, you know—anger that this happened to a young, beautiful woman. I have a beautiful son who is 21 and so it just hits home as a parent, as a member of North Port.”
People are stopping by to offer prayers. One woman said she was driving home in the pouring rain and just felt like it was her duty to stop at the memorial and pray for Petito and her family.
TIPS: If you have any information on the disappearance of Gabby Petito or Brian Laundrie, call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or you can submit a tip online at fbi.gov/tips.