Gabby Petito’s grieving dad has opened a domestic violence shelter in Florida dedicated to the slain 22-year-old – saying he hopes his late daughter “is going to live on through everyone.”
Joe Petito, 42, attended a grand opening Wednesday for the SafeSpace shelter in Vero Beach, WCVB reported.
He recently presented a $15,000 donation to the nonprofit facility — which is dedicated to helping victims find shelter and resources — with help from the Gabby Petito Foundation, according to WPTV.
“It’s not what I need. It’s what people need,” the heartbroken father said during the opening Wednesday, The US Sun reported.
“One in three women, one in five men, 10 to 20 million kids a year. When you do the math on that you’re talking 100 million people. There are only 350 million Americans in the United States,” he told WPBF.
“So you’re talking just under one-third of the nation. … We want everyone to get the same attention that Gabby got,” he said. “I think Gabby is going to live on through everyone. … Her story went so far.”
Petito went on: “I think she will live on through so many of us because more and more people are being found. More and more people are speaking up on their own violence that is happening to them and to their children. … And that’s a great thing but we still got more to do.”
Gabby was reported missing by her mother in Suffolk County on Sept. 11 after her boyfriend Brian Laundrie returned home from the young couple’s cross-country trip 10 days earlier. The Blue Point native’s body was found at a Wyoming campground on Sept. 19.
The skeletal remains of Laundrie — the sole person of interest in her disappearance and death — were found on Oct. 21. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a report by a Florida medical examiner’s office.
On Wednesday, Gabby’s dad said his family is doing well and praised “events like today” for motivating them to feel good “even for something so tragic.”