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#GabbysBench: North Port memorial built in honor of Petito

As a way to carry on his daughter's legacy, Joseph Petito is asking anyone who takes a photo with the memorial to share it online using #GabbysBench.
Credit: Joseph Petito (@josephpetito via Twitter)

NORTH PORT, Fla. — A permanent memorial honoring the life of Gabby Petito now sits in front of North Port City Hall.

Gabby's father, Joseph Petito, shared the first look at the tribute bench which features a memorial plaque in the middle and multi-colored metal butterflies surrounding the structure.

The bench was unveiled Sunday during a small private ceremony with about 30 of Gabby's family members. It sits in the spot where community members who were touched by Gabby's story left flowers, photos, teddy bears, and signs in her honor. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

As a way to carry on his daughter's legacy, Joseph Petito is asking anyone who takes a photo with the memorial to share it online using #GabbysBench.

"Thank you Aaron and the crew at baremetalfab.com for making this beautiful piece of artwork for our family, and community of North Port to cherish her memory for years to come," Gabby's mother, Nichole Schmidt, wrote on Twitter. "My heart is full."

Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie embarked on a cross-country road trip over the summer. But, in September, Laundrie returned to his family home in North Port without Petitio.

Nearly a week after Petito's family reported her missing, Laundrie's parents told authorities he had not been seen in days.

A body was found by authorities at Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19 and was confirmed to be Petito on Sept. 21. On Oct. 12, the coroner's office confirmed that Petito died by strangulation.

Laundrie, who was the only person of interest the FBI named in Petito's homicide, was found dead at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Sarasota County on Oct. 20 after authorities searched for him for more than a month.

RELATED: TIMELINE | The disappearance and death of Gabby Petito: What we know

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