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City of North Port reveals design for Gabby Petito memorial bench

A memorial bench with blue butterflies will be placed outside City Hall in North Port.
A memorial bench with blue butterflies will be placed outside City Hall in North Port.(WWSB)
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:26 AM EDT
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - The City of North Port has revealed the basic design of a bench that will sit outside city hall in memory of Gabrielle Petito.

Petito’s autopsy report revealed the cause of death to be strangulation, the Teton County coroner confirmed Tuesday. The 22-year-old North Port resident went on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé earlier this year, but never returned. Brian Laundrie, the person of interest in the case, is at large. A federal arrest warrant for Laundrie for bank fraud has been issued.

People in North Port created an impromptu memorial outside City Hall, placing items including flowers, candles, photos and stuffed animals, which has steadily grown over the past month. The items were removed this morning, to be sent to Gabby’s family. A permanent memorial bench to be placed at the site is planned.

The design is basic at present, but North Port Mayor Jill Luke says the bench will include blue butterflies. They were Gabby’s favorite and Luke says she has been particularly moved by Gabby’s story.

“It was a little emotional coming out this morning and it was empty,” Luke explained. She was relieved that the memorial was able to stay up for a full month and now its permanent replacement is on the way.

The city expects the bench to arrive in about six weeks.

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