Gabby Petito's Father Honors Her After FBI Finds Body Believed to Be Hers: 'She Touched the World'
Following a tragic update in the missing persons case of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman's father honored his daughter.
Shortly after a press conference Sunday in which the FBI announced that they discovered a body in Wyoming matching Gabby's description, her father, Joseph Petito, shared a photo of her posing with angel wings on social media with the caption, "she touched the world."
Gabby embarked on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, earlier this summer. Traveling by van, they drove from Florida to New York, then headed west, documenting their adventures along the way.
The trip took a dark turn when her family stopped hearing from her in late August, while she was in Grand Teton National Park, authorities believe.
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They later discovered that Laundrie had quietly returned to his parents' home in Florida without her on Sept. 1, and 10 days passed before she was reported missing.
Authorities named Laundrie a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance on Wednesday and alleged that he was not cooperating with investigators.
In the days that followed, the nation tuned in to Gabby's story, creating theories and raising questions about what happened to her.
Through many twists and turns in the case — including Laundrie also vanishing before investigators were able to speak with him — Gabby's parents have remained focused on one thing: finding their "free spirit" daughter.
In an interview with PEOPLE prior to the FBI's grisly discovery, Joseph Petito shared fond memories of his daughter.
"It's just a shame that we're in the predicament we're in now, because she's so amazing," Joseph told PEOPLE. "She's so artistic. She's an amazing artist. She loves to draw. She has a great eye with decorating ... She's that flower child type of personality. The old soul, you know?"
If the Woodstock Festival was still happening, Joseph said, she'd be there.
Speaking with PEOPLE (the TV Show!) last week, Joseph said that while he is frustrated Laundrie and his family aren't doing more to aid the investigation, he is trying not to get distracted by the events that followed her disappearance before figuring out what happened to her.
"I've got questions. I've got feelings. I've got things I would love to say," Joseph said, but "if I focus on him, I'm going to lose focus on Gabby — and I'm not doing that."
FBI Denver announced during Sunday's press conference that while they believe the remains they found in Grand Teton National Park belong to Gabby, a full forensic analysis is pending and a cause of death has not been determined.