Foundation raises over $13K in first fundraiser on Long Island

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The Gabby Petito Foundation held its first fundraiser near her Long Island hometown on Sunday, raising more than $13,000 as the family of the slain 22-year-old tries to make a positive difference out of their devastating loss.

Hundreds of people — including friends, family, and supporters — packed into the music venue 89 North in Patchogue to celebrate Petito’s life.

The six-hour event on Sunday featured live bands, food, and an auction. 

All attendees received a metal bracelet inscribed with “Justice for Gabby” with their $20 ticket donation, according to Fox News.

“We’re here to raise money and have some good food and a good time in her memory,” event director Christian Cabrera told ABC 7.

Members of the Blue Point Fire Department, where Gabby’s stepfather served as chief, showed up in numbers to help set up the fundraiser.

“We’re firefighters. We’re volunteers,” Assistant Fire Chief Sean Meehan told Fox. “So we’re volunteering to help out a good cause.”

The fundraiser featured live music and raffle prizes.
The fundraiser featured live music and raffle prizes.
Edmund J Coppa

The Foundation, soon to be a registered 501[c][3] nonprofit, says that its mission is “to address the needs of organizations who support locating missing persons and to provide aid to organizations who assist victims of domestic violence situations, through education, awareness, and prevention strategies.”

Attendees line up outside the 89 North Music Venue for the fundraiser.
Attendees line up outside the 89 North Music Venue for the fundraiser.
Edmund J Coppa

“We wish to turn our personal tragedy into a positive. It is our hope that Gabby’s foundation will bring these important issues into the forefront of the public eye to the benefit of all our communities.”

In total, $13,700 was raised, the family’s attorney told ABC.

Petito’s parents did not attend the event, according to CBS 2. Instead, the grieving couple retrieved Gabby’s remains in Wyoming and visited the location near where her body was found.

On Saturday, Petito’s father Joseph Petito posted a heartbreaking photo of one of the last spots his daughter visited on her tragic road trip, with a poignant message for her.

Petito’s story has gripped the nation for months since she was first reported missing after going on a cross-country van trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.

Laundrie, 23, returned to his Florida in their van without Petito. Her body was found nearly three weeks later.

Justice for Gabby bracelets were sold and distributed at the fundraiser.
Justice for Gabby bracelets were sold and distributed at the fundraiser.
Edmund J Coppa

Laundrie remains the sole person of interest in her disappearance and death and has been the subject of a massive FBI manhunt for nearly a month.

Petito was manually strangled and her death has been ruled a homicide, an autopsy confirmed.

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