Suffolk Lawmakers Introduce Missing Adults Bill Honoring Gabby Petito

missing adult gabby petito
Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. (YouTube)

Suffolk State Assemblyman Introduces Missing Adults Law Honoring Gabby Petito

New York State Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) and State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) have introduced legislation that would require police to issue a Teal Alert for missing adults believed to be in danger, including domestic violence victims.

The establishment of a Teal Alert would operate similar to the national Amber Alert system for missing children and Silver Alert for seniors and adults with mental health issues. It was introduced in honor of Blue Point native Gabby Petito, who made headlines after going missing for 19 days while traveling cross-country with her fiance and later being found dead, her untimely death ruled a homicide by strangulation.

“As the father of five children, Gabby Petito’s case inspired me to want to protect my own children as well as those of every other parent,” Flood said. “Implementing Teal Alerts would help protect victims just as the Amber Alert helps find missing children by alerting the public to get their attention and likely their assistance.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S., which Flood called “an unacceptable and unsettling statistic.”

missing adult Petito
In this image taken from police body camera video provided by The Moab Police Department, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The family of Petito filed a notice of claim Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, of plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the tourist town of Moab, Utah, over police officers’ handling of an encounter with Petito and her boyfriend weeks she was found dead in Wyoming.The Moab Police Department via AP, File

Following Petito’s death, friends, family members, and advocates wore teal ribbons in her honor to represent her bright blue eye color. 

Petito, who was 22 years old, was reported missing in August 2021. Her body was found at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19, 2021, a month after police had stopped her and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, while they were in what appeared to be a domestic dispute. 

In journal entries found by investigators in Florida, Laundrie admitted to killing Petito. He was also reported missing and died by suicide before authorities could find him.

The Teal Alert law will not go up for a vote on the floor during the current legislative session, Flood noted.