The family of Gabby Petito has offered their gratitude to the public for its support after their “worst fears” came true with the discovery of her body in a Wyoming forest.
“On behalf of the entire family, we send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed and donated to help in our search for Gabby,” Gary Rider, a longtime friend of the Petito family, wrote on a GoFundMe page Monday.
“We still do not have the words that seem appropriate to truly express how grateful we are and how uplifting this support has been during this challenging time.”
The message said the family was “devastated” by the news of her death after she went missing on a cross-country road trip last month with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.
“The worst fears of any parent have been realized with the recovery of Gabby. We are devastated and heartbroken,” the post said.
Petito’s preliminary cause of death was declared a homicide on Tuesday, and authorities said her boyfriend is a person of interest in the case.
The GoFundMe page, which has raised around $76,000 as of Wednesday, said the money will help cover bringing her body home and any legal fees.
“As an update to the fund’s purpose, we will use these funds to continue to cover the general expenses incurred by the search and efforts to find and bring Gabby home, transportation, legal fees, and care of the family through this difficult period,” the page said. “The family will donate any remaining funds to a charity of their choosing at a later time.”