Long Island community rallies around Gabby Petito’s family as search for fiance Brian Laundrie continues

Long Island

NEW YORK — Law enforcement continued to search for Brian Laundrie in a Florida wildlife preserve Wednesday and again turned up nothing. 

North Port Police Commander Joe Fussell said authorities are doing everything they can to locate him.

“We’ve deployed numerous resources and we are trying to cover every acre in this preserve,” he said.

As police look for the only person of interest in the Gabby Petito homicide investigation, a grieving community back on Long Island tries to support her family.

Nora Garvey, of Blue Point, organized “Shine A Light For Gabby.” Community members will light candles in their homes at 7 p.m. on Friday to honor the 22-year-old and support her family.

“We are all standing with the Petito-Schmidt family and that we are here to support them and love them going forward,” Garvey said. 

Already, Petito’s hometown has put up hundreds of teal ribbons, a tribute to the color of her eyes.

Anger and frustration grew Wednesday as law enforcement officers continued their hunt to find Petito’s fiancé, Laundrie.

He returned from their cross-country camping trip alone to his parents’ North Port, Florida home on Sept. 1. Petito’s body was found in Wyoming on Sunday.

Some neighbors, including Bob Prokopiak, aren’t convinced that Laundrie is even in the area where police are searching.

“There’s no way. I don’t think it’s possible. With the alligators, with water, with everything out there. Plus, he’s got a backpack; I mean, something’s not right,” Prokopiak said.

According to the Petito-Schmidt family attorney, Gabby’s step father remains in Wyoming while the medical examiner’s office finishes its report. A funeral announcement will be made when he is able to bring her body home. 

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