The body of Petito was discovered at a Wyoming national park over the weekend, months after setting out on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.
He remains at large, wanted for questioning in her death. Authorities are searching a swampy preserve area near the Florida home of Laundrie's parents.
The tragedy is bringing people together, people who don't even know each other.
In Gabby Petito’s hometown of Blue Point, #LongIsland today, where teal ribbons line the streets around her family’s home. A show of support from people who feel helpless after learning of her death. #gabbypetito @ABC7NY pic.twitter.com/7VAQIpBjRH— Stacey Sager (@staceysager7) September 21, 2021
"I said I have to give back, because people gave back to me," East Islip resident Jeanne Becvar said.
For Becvar, Gabby's story is even more closely tied in with her own.
"I can feel what the parents feel because I lost a daughter 5 years ago," she said. "So I know what they feel like."
For others, the feeling is harder to pinpoint. Perhaps that Gabby had documented her trip with Brian Laundrie so extensively on social media that people were invested, as though they knew her.
"She just seemed like a very innocent, sweet girl, and we all felt like she was our daughter," Bayport resident Carroll Anne Tantillo said.
In a small town where some are at a loss for words and teal-colored ribbons now fill an emptiness and make a statement that this tragedy has tied so many of them together.
ALSO READ: ABC Exclusive: Full interview with Brian Laundrie's sister on Gabby Petito
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