'I think the foundation is a way of us grieving': Gabby Petito's family says a foundation in her honor is helping them cope
Gabby Petito's remains were discovered almost two months ago.
- Her family told WFLA they're coping by pouring their energy into a foundation for her honor.
Gabby Petito's family says they're focusing on a foundation they launched in her honor as a way to grieve almost two months after the 22-year-old's body was found.
"It's hard. We're still grieving and it's going to be a process for a long time, I know that. I think starting the foundation is a way of us grieving and getting through this," Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, told WFLA. "Some mornings I wake up, I want to save the world and I know I can't do that but I'll die trying. And that's Gabby's legacy."
Schmidt, alongside Petito's father and stepmother, Joseph and Tara Petito, are forming The Gabby Petito Foundation. The organization is meant "to address the needs of organizations that support locating
The family told WFLA they want a nationwide alert system for people between 18 and 64 years old.
"If a family member knows they're missing, there's got to be some kind of alert system so people start looking immediately," Schmidt told WFLA, referencing how there are only alert systems for children and the elderly.
Joseph Petito announced the formation of the foundation back in September and said it was a way to help people in a similar situation as his daughter.
"No one should have to find their child on their own. We are creating this foundation to give resources and guidance on bringing their children home," he said at the time.
He told WFLA on Tuesday that the foundation has been their "driving force as of late and it's going to do a lot of good things," and that making a difference is what they're doing to cope.
He said the foundation is meeting with shelters, police, rescue teams, therapists, and other professionals to figure out what's needed.
"Being able to fill that void with whatever we can do, that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to help other organizations with resources and bring awareness to the issues," he said.
Petito's body was discovered on September 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, a little more than a week after the family reported her missing on September 11. Her death was ruled a homicide, the FBI said.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue found that Petito died of manual strangulation several weeks before her body was found.
Petito was on a cross-country road trip with her fiance,
Laundrie went missing as of September 13. He was considered a person of interest in Petito's disappearance. Late last month, Laundrie's remains were found at the Carlton Reserve in Florida.
Tara Petito said she still cries thinking of Gabby.
"I cry every night. I stare at her pictures. So it's been very difficult," she told WFLA. "I have a 13-year-old son who was very close with Gabby and he's having a very tough time as well."
Joe Petito said he's vocal because he wants other families to get the same attention that his did.
"I want to make sure Gabby's looking down and saying, you know what, I'm proud," he told WFLA.
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