March 19, 1999 – August 2021

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since Gabby has been gone. While she was reported missing in September 2021, once her body was found, it was determined by the coroner that she was murdered in late August 2021. It doesn’t seem all that long ago, but then again it seems like ages since!

Gabby died too young, at the hands of someone that claimed to love her so much. That’s pretty much how abuse goes, isn’t it? And when you gain the courage to speak up, once other concerned parties have notified the authorities, you’re victim shamed. You feel defeated and go back with your abuser, only to never be seen or heard from again…alive, that is.

So, Gabby, I light a candle for you…you who had a sweet, gentle, wandering soul. Your fun-loving, adventurous spirit made us adore you and want nothing more than to be your friend. You had a beautiful smile that was welcoming and non-judgmental — it was genuine! You will be missed beyond measure! If only we could turn back the events of last year, leading up to your death…I’m SO sorry, baby girl…I saw the police body cam footage, ALL OF IT. You cried and apologized and deflected, while he laughed and joked and made sarcastic remarks to the police without remorse. And after they let you all go on your way, you paid dearly. I’ve never wanted to hug someone tight in my whole life (and I’m not a hugger). I wanted to wrap you up and take you home to your loved ones, but you were already an angel when we all saw that footage…I’m sorry I couldn’t save you…I would’ve spent my paycheck to drive out to where you were to get you, not even knowing you, so you wouldn’t have to go with HIM…I’ve been there and I get to feel survivor’s guilt all over again…you paid a price that I somehow escaped…

Your passing will still embody the light that you radiated on Earth. Dear, sweet girl, your family has turned their pain of losing you into a powerful purpose. The foundation that bears your name helps to communicate the evils of domestic abuse and to serve as a beacon to other families whose loved ones are missing. These brave, hurting people have selflessly said, “NO MORE!” They want no more families to cry an ocean of tears, nor feel the panic of realization, nor the anguish and pain of horror.

I also pray that your foundation can offer better DV training to officers. I won’t lie, it was heartbreaking reading your Dad’s Tweet about it being a year already, but I became slightly enraged when I then read that one of the officers who had interviewed you, at the traffic stop, was promoted to detective and also serves as an elementary school resource officer. Sadly, I don’t feel anything has changed with that law enforcement agency. I just pray that their negligence and lack of training doesn’t allow any more people to needlessly be taken away!

Your foundation has also given $100,000 to the Domestic Violence Hotline! Such a blessing that will help SO many, touch so many lives! I’m sorry you had to be the stone that caused all of these ripples, but what a big wave it has caused!

Gabby, you were one in a million, taken too soon! May we take some of your light and light the way for others who are lost in the murky darkness that is domestic abuse. Amen!

If you’d like to donate to the Gabby Petito Foundation, please do so here.