NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Vigils took place before Sunday’s public memorial service for Gabby Petito in Holbrook, Long Island.
Meanwhile, authorities in Florida are still searching for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, after the FBI issued an arrest warrant for him.READ MORE: Public Memorial For Gabby Petito Announced As Search Continues For Brian Laundrie
As the manhunt for Laundrie ramps up, mourners are preparing to pay their respects.
Petito’s mother posted on Facebook on Saturday, saying in part, “Your support has been so overwhelming and we are so filled with gratitude.”
On Twitter, Petito’s father announced the creation of the Gabby Petito Foundation to “help people in similar situations as Gabby” and provide resources and guidance for parents searching for missing children.
The Gabby Petito Foundation. 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. We are looking to help people in similar situations as Gabby. #gabbypetito https://t.co/oaX4BsPcYj pic.twitter.com/I9tz5q6Hcc
— joseph petito (@josephpetito) September 25, 2021
Petito’s body was found nearly a week ago in a Wyoming national park. The coroner ruled her death a homicide, but authorities haven’t said how she died.
Petito went missing while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie.
She appeared to be in distress during a Utah traffic stop in August that followed a 911 call.
“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller said.
“He was slapping her?” the dispatcher said.
“Yes. And then we stopped, they ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off,” the caller said.READ MORE: Federal Arrest Warrant Issued For Gabby Petito’s Missing Fiancé Brian Laundrie
CBS’ “48 Hours” spoke to Petito’s close friend, Rose Davis.
“For the most part, like any other relationship, honestly. Ups and downs. And I j– I’ve– I could see some of the toxic traits,” she said.
Laundrie returned home alone in their van after Petito’s family reported her missing. He refused to talk to authorities and then disappeared.
Gabby Petito Search: Timeline Of Road Trip With Fiancé Brian Laundrie, Notable Dates And Events
Police are searching a massive wildlife preserve near his Florida home.
“Terrain is very difficult. Essentially 75% of it is underwater,” said Joe Fussell, with North Port Police.
One woman said she drove some 50 miles to post fliers with Petito’s photo.
“I feel for both parties. I feel for them, and I feel for the the lost girl’s parents,” she said.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors charged Laundrie with debit card fraud, allegedly committed after Petito’s disappearance.
Authorities say he could be anywhere, even out of the country.MORE NEWS: Gravity Of Gabby Petito’s Killing Hits Long Island’s Blue Point: ‘It’s Kind Of Like A Shattered Community’
Editor’s note: This story was first published Sept. 25.