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Family of Gabby Petito launches foundation to help locate missing persons and support survivors of domestic violence

After Gabby's death, the Petito family says they want to turn their personal tragedy into positive change.

TAMPA, Fla — To honor Gabby Petito, her family has launched the Gabby Petito Foundation to support organizations that locate missing persons and support survivors of domestic violence.

“We want to honor Gabby’s memory and life by ensuring that no one ever has to experience what she did," Gabby’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, said in a statement. She is also the co-founder of the Gabby Petito Foundation. "We want survivors to know that they aren’t alone and that there are amazing organizations ready to help." She is also the co-founder of the Gabby Petito Foundation.

In a release, the foundation says they have received generous contributions from people all over the world. The family has chosen the National Domestic Violence Hotline, SafeSpace, and The AWARE Foundation as recipients of their donations for this month.

“These three organizations are doing incredible work on the front lines of missing persons and responding to those impacted by abuse,” Joe Petito, Gabby’s father, said in a statement.

Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said, “This contribution from the Gabby Petito Foundation will allow us to continue our critical services during a time when those impacted by domestic violence are at increased risk of abuse.”

Gabby was reported missing in September after going on a road trip with her fiancée, Brian Laundrie. The two were traveling across the country, living in a van.

Back in August, police stopped the couple in Moab, Utah after receiving reports of a domestic violence situation. The couple detailed their argument to the Moab Police Department, who ultimately determined the incident was more of an emotional break or anxiety attack than anything else.

A few days after Gabby is reported missing, Laundrie is also reported as missing. Before his disappearance, Laundrie was named a person of interest in her search.

On Sept. 19, the Teton County Coroner’s Office confirmed a body was found in the section of Bridger-Teton National Forest where crews had been looking for 22-year-old Petito. The coroner ruled her death a homicide by strangulation.

A little more than a month later, Laundrie’s remains were found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. Authorities ruled his death a suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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