NORTH PORT, Fla. — A park in North Port, Florida, recently welcomed a new addition: a permanent, custom-built bench honoring the life of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.
Aaron Betzner, owner of Indiana-based metal fabrication company A Squared Fabrication, worked with Petito’s family to create a design that reflected the 22-year-old’s spirit and personality, WTVT reported.
In turn, the bench is covered in colorful steel butterflies and features an inscription in memory of Petito, whose remains were found Sept. 19 in a remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. A medical examiner later determined that she died of manual strangulation.
Petito vanished in late August while on a cross-country road trip with her fiance, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, whose remains were located in a Florida nature reserve on Oct. 20. Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, announced Tuesday that Brian Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
The couple had been living with Laundrie’s parents in North Port prior to the fatal cross-country trek.
A makeshift memorial was set up near City Hall in the days and weeks after Petito’s disappearance, but Mayor Jill Luke told WWSB that city leaders wanted to install a more permanent reminder.
Betzner told WTVT that he wanted the bench to be a place “where people can come and sit, reflect on their own life, reflect on Gabby, kind of a little sanctuary space.”
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