The father of Gabby Petito has said he believes that other missing people should get the same attention his daughter did.
Speaking about the wave of interest and publicity that Gabby Petito’s case received, Joseph Petito thanked those on social media who contributed to efforts to find her, and stressed that other missing people should be treated the same way.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Petito said: “Social media has been amazing. I’d like to thank everyone for that, it was very helpful in bringing our daughter home.” He later added: “This awareness should continue for everyone.”
During the intense search for Petito earlier this month, the hashtag #GabbyPetito on TikTok had more than half a billion views, as users shared tips, footage and theories. Tip-offs from two TikTok users are thought to have provided key clues about when and how the van life blogger went missing.
Petito’s body was eventually found on September 19, near the Grand Teton National Park, and her death was later ruled a homicide.
Mr Petito praised those on social media as well as law enforcement agencies who had worked hard to find Petito.
“Social media has been amazing and very influential,” he said, adding: “and to be honest it should continue for other people too, this same type of heightened awareness should be continued for everyone.”
“I wanna ask everyone to help all of the people that are missing and need help [...] it’s not just Gabby that deserves that.”
The family of Petito also announced that they planned to launch the Gabby Petito Foundation, which they hoped would be able to provide support for others who were in a similar position to them.
Jim Schmidt, Petito’s stepfather said: “We’re hoping that through our tragedy with losing Gabby that in the future, some good can come out of it ... that we can help other people that may be in a similar situation.”
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