'Just a beautiful person': Family friend heartbroken for parents of missing Blue Point native
The tight-knit Blue Point community is banding together to support the family of the missing Blue Point native Gabby Petito whose story has grabbed national attention.
Jennifer McNamara has been a close family friend for nearly two decades.
McNamara describes Petito as "love, light and rainbows. Just a beautiful person."
Gabby Petito, 22, went missing sometime in mid-August in Wyoming while traveling with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest in the case.
Petito's parents last communicated with her on Aug. 30.
"Probably some of the most amazing people I've ever met," says McNamara. "Kind, giving, salt of the earth."
MORE: Police release body cam video of missing Blue Point native following altercation with boyfriend
Petito and Laundrie both graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School. McNamara says the community is doing what it does best -- pulling together to help Gabby's family pull through.
"I don't think there's anything the community is not doing," says McNamara. "Everyone is out there sharing her picture. We're raising money."
Nearly $50,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe page. McNamara says money is also being raised through the Johnny Mac Foundation, which is named after her late husband.
Petito's stepfather Jim Schmidt is a longtime member of the Blue Point Fire Department. The department released a statement Thursday saying, "The Schmidts have been part of the Blue Point Fire Department for three generations. They are an incredible, loving, and community-oriented family. Right now we want nothing but for Gabby to return home safely."
Police in Utah have released new body cam video in the case.