Memorial for Gabby Petito grows in front of Ogden mural she visited

Sep 22, 2021, 6:03 AM | Updated: 6:22 am
Flowers at the Gabby Petito memorial in Ogden. Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV Photojournalist...
Flowers at the Gabby Petito memorial in Ogden. Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV Photojournalist

OGDEN – A mural of a monarch butterfly is the backdrop for Gabby Petito’s last Instagram post. The artwork is located outside of an Ogden business, 455 E 25th street, where there is now a growing memorial for her.

Ogden resident Jess Smith visited the site Tuesday night to show her support for Petito and her family.

“Although I didn’t know her, I can still support her from the sidelines,” Smith said.

Smith said Petito’s story resonates with her. When she hears about the relationship with the boyfriend, she can’t help but sympathize and think of her own life experiences.

“I was in a domestic violence situation myself and it was really hard to get out of,” she said. “I know it’s easy to miss the signs, and not really know the next step to go through without fearing of what’s going to happen next.” 

Another resident, who asked to go by ‘Holly’, said she stopped by the memorial to pay her respects. Holly feels Petito’s story is continuing a very important and very real conversation about domestic violence.

“I would like to look into what can we do to prevent this for other women in the same situation,” Holly said. “Women need to know how precious they are, how valued, how wonderful and hopefully Gabby knows that, even though she’s not here with us.” 

Although Ogden is thousands of miles away from where Petito’s parents live, those who visited the site are able to sign books laid out at the growing tribute, to show their support for the family. The books with those messages will eventually be sent to the Petito family, according to organizers.

“I hope that we can touch their hearts even just a little bit to let them know people all over the world love Gabby,” Holly said.

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Memorial for Gabby Petito grows in front of Ogden mural she visited