Speaking to mourners gathered to honor the life of his late 22-year-old daughter, Joseph Petito encouraged people to be inspired by the way Gabby Petito lived her life.
Funeral services were held to honor the life of the Long Island resident at the Moloney's Funeral Home in Holbrook on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 26. Petito's remains were found in a Wyoming national park a week earlier.
Petito, who was from Blue Point, was reported missing by her family on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Speaking at the service, Joe Petito said he does not want people to be sad, but to take inspiration from the way his daughter lived her life.
"I don't want you guys to be sad, to be honest with you," he said. "Gabby didn't live that way. That wasn't her way."
He said his daughter would treat people with kindness and respect.
"If there's a trip that you guys want to take, take it," he said. "Now, do it now while you've got the time. If there's a relationship that you're in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now."
Petito had been traveling across the country in her van with her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie. Laundrie returned to his parents' home in Florida without Petito on Wednesday, Sept. 1, and refused to cooperate with investigators.
He has since been named a person of interest in her case, and authorities are searching for him after his parents reported on Friday, Sept. 17 that they hadn't seen him in days.
Earlier on Sunday, the Petito family shared a memorial video ahead of her memorial and visitation services. The family is also working to create a foundation in her memory that will help other families with missing children, Insider reported.
"Gabby is the most amazing person I've ever met," Joe Petito said. "So, if you're going to leave here today, I'm asking that you guys be inspired by the way she treated people, all people.
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