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'Take care' Gabby Petito’s father sends message to women in toxic relationships at funeral

If there is a relationship that you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now. Take care of yourself first,” he told the women at the funeral.

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People leave a viewing during Gabby Petito's memorial service in Holbrook, New York. Reuters

People leave a viewing during Gabby Petito's memorial service in Holbrook, New York. Reuters

People leave a viewing during Gabby Petito's memorial service in Holbrook, New York. Reuters

Gabby Petito’s father shared an emotional message and some life advice, especially for “women in relationships", at the travel blogger’s funeral, as the FBI continued their search for her missing boyfriend Brian Laundrie.

Speaking at a packed funeral home on Sunday in Long Island, Joe Petito remembered his 22-year-old daughter whose life was cut short, and asked people to take inspiration from her.

“If there is a relationship that you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now. Take care of yourself first,” he told the women at the funeral.

He added: “I would like you to take a look at these videos [of Petito’s travels] and I want you to be inspired by them. If there’s a trip you guys want to take, take it now. Do it now while you have the time.”

“Gabby is the most amazing person I’ve ever met,” he added. “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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Mourners gather at Moloney’s Funeral Home in Holbrook, New York (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP)

Mourners gather at Moloney’s Funeral Home in Holbrook, New York (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP)

Mourners gather at Moloney’s Funeral Home in Holbrook, New York (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP)

“The entire planet knows this woman’s name,” Mr Petito said in his eulogy, explaining her passion for new experiences such as scuba diving or surfing sand dunes.

Petito’s funeral on Sunday was attended by hundreds of people, even those who didn’t know her personally. Many arrived with banners to support her.

The relationship between Petito and Mr Laundrie was strained, according to reports that have emerged since her death. A fight between the couple on August 12 in Moab, Utah, became a police matter and the bodycam footage showed Petito visibly distressed. However, no charges were pressed and no one was injured.

Mr Laundrie and Petito told officers that they were suffering from a mental health breakdown.

Recently, another witness also claimed to have seen the couple fight “aggressively” over her cellphone during an argument in Utah on August 12.

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Gabby Petito’s body was discovered last Sunday (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP)

Gabby Petito’s body was discovered last Sunday (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP)

Gabby Petito’s body was discovered last Sunday (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP)

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Meanwhile, text messages sent by Gabby Petito to her mother in the days before her disappearance showed growing strain between her and Mr Laundrie, a police search warrant has revealed.

The 22-year-old had been on a “vanlife” trip across the United States with Mr Laundrie, when she stopped communicating with her parents in late August.

He arrived back at his parents’ home in Florida on 1 September without his girlfriend, and the Petito family reported her missing 10 days later.

Petito’s remains were found a week ago near a remote campsite in Wyoming, and her death has been ruled a homicide. Authorities are continuing to try to determine her cause of death, and have not yet returned her remains to her family.

Police in Florida continue to search for Mr Laundrie in a 25,000 acre nature reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, after he disappeared from his family home. He has been named as a person of interest by the police.

Two FBI agents visited the family home of Mr Laundrie in Florida on Sunday to collect some of his personal belongings for “DNA matching,” according to the family’s lawyer.

The visit comes amidst a scaled up search for Mr Laundrie, who has been declared a “person of interest” in the homicide.

Describing the visit as routine, family attorney Steven Bertolino told the media that the “FBI requested some personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie to assist them with DNA matching.”

“Brian’s parents provided the FBI with what they could," he added. The visit comes almost a week after the FBI agents swarmed his house with guns drawn and marking it with crime scene tape as they placed his parents in an unmarked van.

Mr Laundrie, who had returned home alone on 1 September after a cross-country trip with his girlfriend, also disappeared days after Ms Petito’s family reported her missing on 11 September.

Days after investigating his whereabouts unsuccessfully, the FBI last Thursday announced a federal arrest warrant against him in relation to the death of Ms Petito.

“While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms Petito’s homicide,” said Michael Schneider, special agent in charge .

“We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI,” he said.

The law enforcement agencies are also combing through 24,565-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County located near their Florida home. Mr Laundrie’s family told the police they believe he entered the area and hasn’t been seen since.

The Independent

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