North Port community plans a vigil in tribute of Gabby Petito: ‘She has become America’s daughter’

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito. North Port Police Department
  • A mother in North Port, Florida, is leading a vigil for Gabby Petito on Saturday evening.
  • Lisa Correll told Insider that neighbors will decorate a community tree in Petito’s honor.
  • “You have this beautiful young lady that’s just missing. And she’s become America’s daughter,” she said.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The community members of North Port, Florida, are planning a vigil for Saturday evening in honor of Gabby Petito, who’s been missing since at least September 11.

The 22-year-old disappeared during a cross-country road trip with fiancé Brian Laundrie, who’s now become a person of interest in the case. Laundrie returned home without Petito and has for days refused to cooperate with authorities despite desperate pleas from Petito’s family that he do.

And on Friday, police discovered that Laundrie has also disappeared.

“We’ve been trying all week to talk to his family, to talk to Brian, and now they’ve called us here on Friday, we’ve gone to the home, and they’re saying now they have not seen their son,” North Port police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN. “So we are working through those details as we speak. It is another twist in this story.”

Laundrie’s disappearance has put North Port neighbors on edge. Lisa Correll, a mother who organized a vigil for Petito scheduled for Saturday evening, told Insider that neighbors surrounded Laundrie’s home in the Florida town Friday night.

It was like a constant flow, a constant flow of people,” said Correll, who was on the scene last night. By her count, about 100 people remained outside the house at all times.

“As soon as some people would disperse away, other people would just come in,” she told Insider. “The streets were full of cars. It went on all throughout the night.”

Neighbors began surrounding the house at around 4 p.m., according to Correll. By 9 p.m., people were still there, urging Laundrie to come out.

“Where is Gabby?” Neighbors chanted through bullhorns, Correll said. “The family has the right to know.” Others urged Laundrie to come out and address the crowd.

Shortly after the demonstrations, the public learned that Laundrie had been missing since Tuesday. The North Port Police Department said it’s teamed up with the FBI to conduct a search of a “vast” Florida reserve in the hopes of finding him.

Laundrie’s refusal to answer questions about Petito is suspicious, Correll said. Neighbors believe his disappearance makes this case even stranger, Correll said.

“You have this beautiful young lady that’s just missing. And she’s become America’s daughter,” she said. “It’s just as if it was your neighbor’s daughter.”

The vigil, called “The Light of Hope for Gabby,” will take place at 7 p.m. ET. About 200 participants are expected to attend. Correll said a pastor will lead a prayer and candle lighting at the event, and neighbors will decorate a community tree with lime green and aqua blue ribbons.

“Aqua blue was Gabby’s favorite color, so I have a mother making some aqua blue ribbons. We’re going to be placing these ribbons on the tree to start generating the tree as a tribute in her honor,” Correll said.

The lime green ribbons are meant to indicate that the vigil is in honor of a missing person. “We are all hoping she is going to be returned home safely,” Correll said.

Correll doesn’t know Petito, but her disappearance still resonates.

“I have daughters, and I have granddaughters. It’s very heart-wrenching and I could never imagine what the family is going through,” Correll said.

“If that was to happen to one of my children, I would be very devastated,” she continued. “I talk to my daughters every day, and if I went a day or two not talking with my daughter, I would just be beside myself.”