North Port community holds vigil for Gabby Petito

The disappearance of Gabby Petito has hit the community of North Port hard.

Even people who have never met Petito have been praying for her and her family. They’re praying for her safe return.

Her stepfather, Jim Schmidt, says that the family is still determined to find Gabby. We have each other right now, and we’re keeping each other up. Remaining strong. We have our moments. We’re human. But we’re still focused on what we need to do and that’s to find her, and we’re determined to do that,” Schmidt said.

On Saturday evening, a vigil was organized for Gabby. Dozens of people showed up to North Port City Hall with candles in hand and prayers in their hearts. The light from the candles represents hope. Lisa Correll is the organizer of Saturday’s vigil. “Tonight, we are going to be honoring Gabby,” Correll said. She believes we need to keep hope alive.

Petito still isn’t home to those who love her and those who miss her. “She’s America’s daughter. She is everybody’s daughter and I have daughters myself and I just couldn’t imagine the grief that the family is going through and not knowing where she is and not having an answer, so it’s very poison. I can’t imagine what they’re going through,” said Correll.

Those present lit candles and said a prayer, led by Pastor Kip Hasserling. “That we can rely on and Will just come together and spend some time in prayer together remembering the value of life and this family that’s going through some unbelievable times,” Hasserling said.

Jean Robert is from Lake Placid. “Because I care. I don’t have to know her. I’m just praying for her and her family and his family and I just pray that they find her and I pray to God they bring her home alive,” Robert said.

People like Robert are keeping that hope alive. And they are praying for any miracle and will come home safe.

“Keep everybody still looking and talking and keeping our community active and our thoughts and prayers for her and her family safe return,” said Correll.

The case of Petito has left many people confused but also wondering what happened. What happened to Gabby Petito? The community and the nation have been demanding answers from Petito’s fiance, Brian Laundrie. He was the last person to see her but he has remained silent.

Now, investigators are looking for him as well.

Those who attended the vigil on Saturday night hung green ribbons from a tree to represent the missing.

Gabby’s favorite color is blue so the organizer passed out blue ribbons for participants to wear.

Reporter:Emma Heaton
Writer:Drew Hill
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