As Gabby Petito memorials begin in Utah, others with missing loved ones seek for similar attention

Gabby Petito memorials take hold in Utah, while some clamour for the same level of attention for missing women of colour

In Utah, latest Gabby Petito developments inspire a vigil and spark a much-needed conversation around MMIW, Enrique Limón reports.

Memorials in Utah, Florida and New York remembering Gabby Petito have begun, with Ms Petito’s family asking for donations to help establish a foundation in the woman’s name.

However, as attention is focused on Ms Petito’s disappearance and death, the families of missing people are pleading for the same level of attention from the public and press that Ms Petito was given.

Standing in front of a folding table adorned with a framed composite depicting Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito as an angel at its centre, as well as printed photos from the slain 22-year-old’s Instagram feed placed throughout, Sonia Chavez takes a moment to temporarily turn off a collection of battery-powered votives scattered across the spread.

“I don’t want our candles to be sad before we do the moment of silence,” she says as she leaves the makeshift memorial to be interviewed by the nightly news. The 30 or so attendees use the time to lay down flowers, offer compassionate nods and help each other light wax candles.

“We want to remember Gabby here today. She was so young and so beautiful and she had a full life ahead of her,” Chavez, who organised Wednesday night’s vigil held at Sugar House Park said.