Gabby Petito case

Gabby Petito memorials take hold in Utah, while some clamour for the same level of attention for missing women of colour

Latest developments around the case inspire a vigil and spark a much-needed conversation around missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, Enrique Limón reports

Friday 24 September 2021 17:00
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<p>Salt Lake City resident Serena Chavez lights a candle at the vigil she organized honoring Gabby Petito on Wednesday, Sept. 22.</p>

Salt Lake City resident Serena Chavez lights a candle at the vigil she organized honoring Gabby Petito on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

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Standing in front of a folding table adorned with a framed composite depicting Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito as an angel at its centre, as well as printed photos from the slain 22-year-old’s Instagram feed placed throughout, Serena Chavez takes a moment to temporarily turn off a collection of battery-powered votives scattered across the spread.

“I don’t want our candles to be sad before we do the moment of silence,” she says as she leaves the makeshift memorial to be interviewed by the nightly news. The 30 or so attendees use the time to lay down flowers, offer compassionate nods and help each other light wax candles.

“We want to remember Gabby here today. She was so young and so beautiful and she had a full life ahead of her,” Chavez, who organised Wednesday night’s vigil held at Sugar House Park said.

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