RV campers say prayers and leave tributes where Gabby Petito’s remains were found

VSAleb Key and his mother Marianne had been determined to pay homage to Gabby Petito ever since they learned her body had been found on this tranquil mountainside.

The seven-year-old wanted to leave something natural, not plastic flowers, but rather something that complements the environment. So he fashioned a simple little cross of twigs and vines, with a base carved from a piece of bark.

And on Wednesday, the young boy and his mother made their way across the pebble-strewn riverbed where the 22-year-old YouTuber’s remains were found, to leave their own tribute near a makeshift pebble cross. , shaped in the sand a day or two earlier.

“We were going to add a little paper prayer, but we forgot to bring the tape,” said the youngster.

In the coming days, there will likely be many more, like Ms. Key and her son, drawn to the Spread Creek Campground to pay homage to Ms. Petito, whose plight has caught the attention of many Americans.

FBI confirms Gabby Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming

Already, it seems, there are a lot of people driving all the way to the camping area, 20 miles north of Jackson, Wyoming, just to roll down their windows, breathe in the fresh air, and watch where a drama is happening. real happened. a tragic end.

Ms Key and her son were with the boy’s grandparents, John and Suzanne Kay, all from San Antonio, Texas, but who – like so many encounters in Bridger-Teton National Park – said they were “Full-time caravanners”. RV stands for recreational vehicle, basically a large motorhome.

Their next stop was North Dakota, then Minnesota, where the older Ms. Kay had a job processing sugar beets.

Did they think that many people would now come and make this place a great memorial?

“I don’t know. It’s the remoteness that might make it difficult for some,” Kay said.

His wife said they knew another family of RV campers, Brian and Jenn Bethune, who discovered they had inadvertently filmed the White Ford Transit van used by Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie, when she was parked here on August 27. Information proving the van had been at the campsite was passed to the FBI, who praised members of the public for their help.

“We have a kind of connection with the Bethunes,” said Suzanne Kay.

The other Ms Kay said the RV community cares about itself.

“We always try to help each other,” she said. She said her son’s father, Scott, passed away almost three years ago. Caleb said he believed Ms. Petito was with God, Jesus and her father.

Chuck Neese was the first camper to extend the creek and said it was a beautiful place

(Andrew Buncombe)

A man named Boomerang also said a prayer for Ms. Petito. On Tuesday, the FBI announced that an autopsy had confirmed that the remains found last Sunday were those of Ms Petito and that she had lost her life as a result of homicide, meaning she was killed by a other person.

Boomerang, 61, said he spends much of his time hiking long-distance trails such as the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail. His visit to Spread Creek was part of his path to a “transition” to a larger society.

“I didn’t know the whole story, but someone told me,” he said. “So last night I said a prayer for her spirit, mainly to express remorse and say sorry to her.”

When asked if he thought the campsite would now attract more tourists or people wishing to pray, he replied, “I think there will be a lot of people who will want to come and pay their respects.

Chuck Neese, sitting outside his Winnebago Minnie Winnie campervan, said he believed he was the first camper to return to the site, after it opened to the public on Tuesday.

Usually the site was crowded, he said, but when he arrived yesterday morning there was no one there.

There were, however, a lot of members of the media. He said he asked a ranger what they were all doing there.

On Tuesday, authorities confirmed Gabby Petito’s remains had been found and said she was the victim of a homicide.


“You know, he told me he thought they were all here to cover something on trout fishing,” he said with a laugh. “I knew there was no way, that a lot of the media was covering trout fishing.”

He eventually said a member of the press told him about the search for Ms Petito, the discovery of her remains and the ongoing search for her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.

Did he think that living together, locked in a van or months in a row, could add new pressure to a relationship? “I actually think it makes people calmer.”

Mr Neese, 66, single and the father of a 35-year-old son, said he worked remotely for a group that oversaw repairs to a group of churches in Alabama.

“We have 70,000 people in our churches, even during the pandemic,” he said.

He said that already many tourists had come to look at the bed of the river, he said. He said he skimmed over the conversation between a couple, when a man said he wanted to take home a piece of wood he had picked up. The woman didn’t want him to take it.

“He said ‘But it could be related to history,’” Mr Neese said.

Despite working remotely, Mr Neese said he had heard nothing about Ms Petito’s disappearance or the coroner’s discovery. Yet last night, after learning the gist of the story from a reporter, he read about it.

“I went on the gravel bed yesterday and knelt to pick up rocks,” he said. “And I thought if this was the last place she was alive, it was a very beautiful place.”

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