TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For the parents of Gabby Petito, Thursday was the first Thanksgiving that their daughter would never be able to pay a visit again.
After she was reported missing, Brian Laundrie, her fiancé and the only person of interest in her death, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head after disappearing into the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, a medical examiner confirmed Tuesday.
In light of his family’s loss, Gabby Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, said on Twitter that on days like Thanksgiving, people should be thankful the time spent with their loved ones.
Thanksgiving, a day for being thankful, thoughtful, and giving. Hug your family and friends. Be thankful for the time you get to spend with them all. We miss you #Gabbypetito You should be with us but now all we have are the pictures. #family #friends #HappyThanksgiving— joseph petito (@josephpetito) November 25, 2021
Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, also echoed the sentiment, saying that her daughter taught her to be grateful for every moment of life.
“We will cherish what I’ve had, and have in the present, always. Live with love, laughter and gratitude,” Schmidt said.
Gabby’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, said his family suffered multiple losses this year after losing several members of their family, including Gabby. In a tweet showing his mother’s headstone, he said he missed all those he lost.
Went to visit mom today. Our first thanksgiving without her, grandma, and Gabby.I miss you all immensely. I know you are all together watching over us. Life is truly a gift and love every minute of it. Be present in every moment with your family, and live life to the fullest. pic.twitter.com/L60sIFTQd4— Jim Schmidt (@Jim_Schmidt416) November 26, 2021
Questions still remain as to what happened between Gabby Petito and her fiancé on the cross country trip, but the FBI said it hopes a water damaged book could reveal more information surrounding the young woman’s death.
“In terms of understanding Laundrie’s motive, his feeling about Petito, maybe event any kind of notes or comments he may have made about the events — that notebook could shed a lot of light on those issues,” Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last week.