CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — It’s the club no parents want to be a part of. As Joe Petito and the rest of Gabby’s Petito’s family try to come to terms with a new normal, parents of other children lost to homicide joined “Banfield” to offer their advice.
Gabby Petito vanished while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a converted camper van. The trip was well-documented on social media until it abruptly ceased, allegedly somewhere in Wyoming. The couple documented most of their trip, which started in July, on a YouTube Vlog called “VAN LIFE”. The last posts to both their Instagram accounts were from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days. Her body was discovered days later.
Joe Petito said he’s familiar with the basics of trying to deal with the loss of his daughter — getting plenty of sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, making time for himself — but wondered if there’s more he should be doing.
“I think it is OK for us to tell you to lay down your sword every once in a while and just nurture yourself a little so you can remain strong for Gabby and seeing this through the end and seeing justice for her,” said Beth Holloway.
Holloway’s 18-year-old daughter, Natalee, disappeared while she was on a high school graduation trip to Aruba in 2005. Much like the Gabby Petito case, it garnered intense media coverage.
Joe Petito said he’s thankful for the support system his family has and that they’re all leaning on each other.
“If someone’s having a bad day and you can you can notice that we’re like, ‘You know what, why don’t we take a step back and we’ll reevaluate and make sure things are you know, are OK.’ So we’re trying to stay focused on things for the foundation,” Joe Petito said.
While they’ve had a memorial service, the Petito family has still been unable to have Gabby Petito’s funeral.
“I have no idea. But they do tell us it will be sooner than later — which is exciting,” said Joe.
Holloway said after the disappearance of her daughter, her family played a crucial role in keeping her focused.
“Other family members will help support and take up that that caring for other individuals so you can really, really focus and stay proactive and I think it’s so important,” Holloway said.
Since Gabby Petito’s body was discovered her mother, father, stepfather and stepmother have all gotten matching tattoos in honor of their daughter. The tattoos, which say “let it be” were designed by Petito and styled after “the way she had it written on her arm.”
The Petito family has also set up a foundation in Gabby Petito’s memory.