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Gabby Petito’s stepfather creates stone cross memorial at exact site where daughter’s body was found

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Gabby Petito’s stepfather James Schmidt has visited the exact spot where her body was found in Wyoming, and created a memorial to the 22-year-old New Yorker.

Schmidt, who is married to Petito’s mother Nichole, traveled from New York to Wyoming last week to help with the search for the missing ‘van life’ traveler.

She had been reported missing on September 11, and he set out on September 14. Her body was found on September 19.

On Wednesday Schmidt made a stone cross at the site where Petito was discovered, Fox News confirmed. He left yellow and white flowers on the site, beneath the trees. 

Gabby Petito's father James Schmidt has visited the exact spot where she was killed, and created a stone cross. He laid a floral tribute

Gabby Petito’s father James Schmidt has visited the exact spot where she was killed, and created a stone cross. He laid a floral tribute

James Schmidt, Gabby Petito's stepfather, traveled to Wyoming on September 14 to help the search for the 22-year-old. Four days later her body was found

James Schmidt, Gabby Petito’s stepfather, traveled to Wyoming on September 14 to help the search for the 22-year-old. Four days later her body was found

Schmidt is pictured with his wife Nichole, Gabby's mother, at a press conference on September 14 - shortly before he set out for Wyoming

Schmidt is pictured with his wife Nichole, Gabby’s mother, at a press conference on September 14 – shortly before he set out for Wyoming

Petito saved money for her road trip by working in a pharmacy and then set out on July 2

Petito saved money for her road trip by working in a pharmacy and then set out on July 2

Gabby Petito, 22, is pictured with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, in a YouTube video made to document their 'van life' road trip. Petito's body was found on Sunday and Laundrie has disappeared

Gabby Petito, 22, is pictured with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, in a YouTube video made to document their ‘van life’ road trip. Petito’s body was found on Sunday and Laundrie has disappeared

A memorial of stones arranged in a cross pattern was spotted Monday evening at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite east of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On Wednesday Petito's stepfather made a similar tribute at the exact spot where her body was found

A memorial of stones arranged in a cross pattern was spotted Monday evening at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite east of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On Wednesday Petito’s stepfather made a similar tribute at the exact spot where her body was found

A similar memorial had been made on Monday, on an open patch of muddy land on the banks of a river near the campsite. 

A memorial for Gabby Petito will be held on Sunday in New York, the Long Island funeral home confirmed on Wednesday, as the hunt for the sole ‘person of interest’ in her case continues. 

Her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, was reported missing by his parents on September 17, three days after telling them he was setting off on a hike.

Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home, in Holbrook, 50 miles east of Manhattan, announced the memorial on their website.

The event will be held from noon until 5pm.

No details were given about a funeral or service.

The funeral home on Long Island, New York, has published details of her memorial

The funeral home on Long Island, New York, has published details of her memorial

Sunday's memorial will be held at the Holbrook funeral home near her family's house

Sunday’s memorial will be held at the Holbrook funeral home near her family’s house

Petito and Laundrie are seen on July 4 in Utah. They had set out two days previously on a road trip, planning to document their journey on social media

Petito and Laundrie are seen on July 4 in Utah. They had set out two days previously on a road trip, planning to document their journey on social media 

The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11

Petito’s family have not spoken since a coroner on Tuesday confirmed that the body discovered on Sunday was indeed her.

They said that they would speak once her remains were returned to them.

Laundrie’s family lawyer said: ‘May she rest in peace.’

The search for Laundrie has since Sunday been concentrated on the Carlton Reserve – a swampy, alligator-filled 25,000 acre site where Laundrie’s abandoned car was found. The silver Ford Mustang contained a note, requesting it be towed away.

North Port Police Department on Wednesday evening at around 7pm tweeted that the search had concluded for the day, and would resume in the morning.

‘The ground search for Brian Laundrie has been halted for the evening. Nothing found,’ they said. 

‘We will be back out Thursday, similar operation.’ 

Search teams are pictured on Wednesday heading into the Carlton Reserve in Florida

Search teams are pictured on Wednesday heading into the Carlton Reserve in Florida

The Carlton Reserve has been the focus of a search for Laundrie since his car was found at the site on Sunday

The Carlton Reserve has been the focus of a search for Laundrie since his car was found at the site on Sunday

Laundrie was apparently an avid reader, with some pointing to a video on the couple's YouTube page showing him reading a book about a missing woman. He is seen here camping on the Appalachian trail with Petito in March for her birthday

Laundrie was apparently an avid reader, with some pointing to a video on the couple’s YouTube page showing him reading a book about a missing woman. He is seen here camping on the Appalachian trail with Petito in March for her birthday

Earlier on Wednesday there was a flurry of activity as divers were brought to the site, but it later emerged that there was no connection to the case.

The team, made up of about 10 divers, was requested by North Port Police on Wednesday morning, said Sarasota County Sheriff’s office spokesperson Kaitlyn Perez.

‘These divers are specifically trained and very talented in low visibility bodies of water,’ Perez said. 

‘They dive down where you and I can’t see anything at all. They utilize technology and other special equipment to help them get down deep into really deep bodies of water, so they’re out there right now to recover whatever it is that they might find.’

The Laundrie family were initially reluctant to cooperate with the investigation.

Their house was searched on Monday, and Brian’s parents Christopher and Roberta were questioned.

On Wednesday the Laundrie’s neighbors, William and Charlene Guthrie, said that they saw the Laundrie family leaving the house with a camper van about a week after Brian’s September 1 solo return to Florida.

William Guthrie told Fox News that he was working in his yard when he saw the Laundries attach what looked like a new camper to the back of their pickup truck.

‘I saw them doing some work. And then when they prepared for their trip, I saw them loading the camper,’ he said.

The couple told Fox that the Laundries were gone ‘for the weekend’ after packing up the new camper.

At that point, Petito had not been officially reported missing: her family did not raise the issue with the police until September 11.

The Guthries said they found it ‘odd’ that Christopher, Roberta and Brian Laundrie would all spend the weekend together in one small vehicle.



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