The Gabby Petito Foundation’s Twitter page was created on Sunday, as a tribute to the travel blogger who died under unknown circumstances during a cross country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie.
In its first post before Twitter restricted the account, the family wrote: “The Gabby Petito Foundation is up and running! We have a lot of work to do, website is just starting out so be patient with us, we will get there. Thank you for all the support and love!”
Within hours of its online presence, the page gathered more than 8,400 followers.
Moments later, the page was inaccessible. It was, however, restored on Monday morning after verification formalities were completed.
Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt pointed to Twitter’s authentication policy as one of the reasons behind the page being temporarily restricted.
“Sorry for the confusion as our page was being authenticated,” said a tweet posted on the foundation’s page on Monday.
Ms Schmidt said a number of unverified pages cropping up on the micro-blogging site could be another reason behind the temporary restriction.
“So our Gabby Petito Foundation page has been restricted, this is most likely due to all the fake pages that have been made already,” Ms Schmidt had earlier tweeted.
Petito’s family decided to assist people caught in similar tragedies of dealing with a loved one who has gone missing, aiming to bring “something positive” out of the travel blogger’s death.
“The Gabby Petito Foundation has set out to bring ever lasting education, awareness and prevention,” says the foundation’s Twitter bio. “Good must come from this tragedy, she ‘touched the world’,” it adds.
“We’re just hoping that through our tragedy of losing Gabby that in the future that some good can come out of it, that we can help other people that may be in [a] similar situation,” said Petito’s stepfather Joseph Petito.
Petito’s mysterious disappearance and subsequent death has sparked a hunt for Mr Laundrie, who returned without her from their camping trip and is now missing.
The two were on a 2,328-mile-long journey that began in early July, covering the breadth of the country and scores of national parks along the way.
They documented their visits on social media, including on Instagram and YouTube. Evidence showed things later turned sour between the two, with multiple reports of physical abuse and altercations.
The altercations attracted attention after Ms Petito’s texts and calls to her family went scarce, triggering panic.
Almost two weeks later, Mr Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in Florida, then left again for a trip to the state’s “unforgiving” Carlton water reserve park and has been untraceable since. Authorities, including the police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have launched a probe into the matter.
The hunt for Mr Laundrie has now entered its third week.
Former FBI agent Maureen O’ Connell told Fox News on Thursday that she believed Mr Laundrie will be found alive.
“I have a feeling that [Mr Laundrie] is going to be found, and he is going to be found alive,” she said. “All the information that’s been coming in for weeks now, as you layer it upon itself, you can start to see all these things coming to fruition.”
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