Gabby Petito’s funeral in New York drew a large crowd.

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Gabby Petito’s funeral in New York drew a large crowd.

On Sunday, mourners gathered in New York for the funeral of travel blogger Gabby Petito, as the manhunt for her fiancé continued.

Petito’s father and stepfather spoke at the service at Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home in Long Island, N.Y., where she grew up in Blue Point, N.Y., about her love of travel.

“I want you to look at these pictures, and I want you to be inspired by Gabby,” her father, Joseph Petito, said, pointing to photos of his daughter on a chapel wall. “If there’s a trip you want to go on, go on it right now. Do it now, while you still have the opportunity. If you’re in a relationship that isn’t working for you, get out now.”

On Saturday, Joseph Petito also announced the foundation of The Gabby Petito Foundation, which will provide resources and counseling to families of children who have gone missing.

Jim Schmidt, Petitio’s stepfather and former Chief of the Blue Point Fire Department, said that throughout his tenure as a firefighter, he had the opportunity to plan funerals and deliver eulogies, but that “parents aren’t supposed to bury their children.”

“At 22, Gabby taught me that you can always get money but you can never make up for lost time,” he remarked. “Gabby adored life and lived it to the fullest every day. She is an inspiration to all of us to spend our lives as she did, savoring every moment of this lovely world. Like she did, to love and offer love to everyone.”

Nichole Schmidt, Petito’s mother, published a series of family photos on Facebook on Sunday night before the ceremony, thanking individuals who had expressed support for the family online.

“My heart is full of love as I browse through all of the posts,” she added. “I wish I could reach out to each and every one of you and embrace you!!! Your generosity has been astounding, and we are grateful beyond words.”

Mourners erected a memorial across from City Hall in North Port, Fla., where Petito resided with Laundrie and his parents. They left balloons, teddy bears, and posters in her honor.

Petito’s body was discovered in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, after her family reported her missing while she and Laundrie were on vacation. Article Summary from Nokia News

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