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Gabby Petito funeral held for the public as Brian Laundrie manhunt continues – NBC News

Gabby Petito’s family invited the public to a funeral for their daughter Sunday afternoon as the search for Brian Laundrie, her fiancé and person of interest in her killing, enters the second week.

The public was invited to the Moloney Funeral Home in Holbrook, New York, between the hours of noon and 5 p.m., her father previously announced. Mourners who gathered on Long Island for the services included family, friends and Petito’s former coworkers as well as those who have been monitoring the young woman’s case through recent headlines.

Lexi Ruiz recalled working with Petito at a cafe in nearby Patchogue that Ruiz managed.

Sept. 26, 202101:35

“She was always willing to help someone else,” Ruiz said. “She was just such a light…It’s nice to see so many people come together and support her family.”

Desiree Keeffe, a friend of Petito’s mother, called Petito a “beautiful soul.”

“She gave you love,” Keeffe said. “She was just a beautiful soul. She touched everybody like she did now.”

Petito, 22, went missing in August while living out of a van as she and Laundrie traveled across the country, documenting their journey on Instagram with the hashtag #VanLife.

Laundrie returned home to North Port, Florida in their van on Sept. 1 without Petito and her family reported her missing 10 days later. Petito’s mother said she last spoke with her daughter on a FaceTime call around Aug. 24 when the couple left Salt Lake City for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Petito seemingly also sent a text message saying there was no service in Yosemite National Park, but it is unclear whether Petito sent the message.

Authorities announced last week that they had identified remains found at a Wyoming campground that were confirmed to be Petito. Officials said the manner of death was homicide, but the official cause of death will be determined when an autopsy is completed.

Laundrie, 23, has been named as a person of interest in the case and has not cooperated with investigators, police said. He disappeared about two weeks ago after his family told investigators he had gone hiking in Carlton Reserve in Florida last week and never returned.

Flowers and photographs adorn a makeshift memorial dedicated for Gabby Petito in North Port, Fla., on Sept. 21, 2021.Octavio Jones / Getty Images

The FBI searched his family’s Florida home where he and Petito had been living prior to their cross-country trip.

Laundrie has not been charged in Petito’s death but a federal court in Wyoming issued an arrest warrant for him Thursday for allegedly using “one or more unauthorized access devices,” namely a debit card and personal identification numbers for two accounts.

Steve Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, said the warrant “is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise.”

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