You can’t miss it — and you shouldn’t.
The giant photo of Gabby Petito now standing in Chamber Park at the busiest intersection of Blue Point and Bayport — on Montauk Highway at the end of Nichols Road — is the Bayport-Blue Point community’s latest and perhaps most endearing tribute to the young woman who will “forever” be in their hearts.
Placed by the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce, a billboard features a beaming Petito standing with her back against a wall, positioned between colorfully painted wings. It’s the same beautiful image that her dad Joseph posted on Instagram on Sunday after her body was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
Next to the photo, in giant lettering, there’s a note that simply reads “Gabby Petito Forever in our hearts…” An American flag is attached at the top right corner of the billboard.
The photo tribute is among several ways Petito’s hometown of Blue Point and neighboring Bayport are honoring Petito, 22, whose death has been deemed a homicide by authorities.
The heartbroken communities will honor Petito’s memory on Friday, Sept. 24, with a special candle lighting event, “Shine a Light for Gabby.” Participants are asked to light and place candles at the end of their driveways at precisely 7 p.m.
Around Long Island, and even across the country, others will join Blue Point and Bayport in lighting candles in unison for Petito, who graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School four years ago.
Additionally, many of Blue Point’s treelined streets are lined with teal blue ribbons tied around the trees in tribute to Petito, who was killed during a cross-country trip she had taken with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt of Blue Point picked the color.
Police said Laundrie, who returned to their North Port, Florida, home on Sept. 1 without Petito, is a person of interest in the case. However, a police manhunt for Laundrie continues, as he has remained missing since at least Friday, Sept. 17.
Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11. She last communicated with her family on Aug. 25 and the last known sighting of her was on Aug. 27.