Flood Watch
from FRI 11:00 AM MST until SAT 11:00 PM MST, Yavapai County Mountains, Little Colorado River Valley in Coconino County, Little Colorado River Valley in Navajo County, Little Colorado River Valley in Apache County, Eastern Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, Northern Gila County, Yavapai County Valleys and Basins, Oak Creek and Sycamore Canyons, Western Pima County including Ajo/Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tohono O'odham Nation including Sells, Upper Santa Cruz River and Altar Valleys including Nogales, Tucson Metro Area including Tucson/Green Valley/Marana/Vail, South Central Pinal County including Eloy/Picacho Peak State Park, Southeast Pinal County including Kearny/Mammoth/Oracle, Upper San Pedro River Valley including Sierra Vista/Benson, Eastern Cochise County below 5000 ft including Douglas/Wilcox, Upper Gila River and Aravaipa Valleys including Clifton/Safford, White Mountains of Graham and Greenlee Counties including Hannagan Meadow, Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains including Mount Graham, Chiricahua Mountains including Chiricahua National Monument, Dragoon/Mule/Huachuca and Santa Rita Mountains including Bisbee/Canelo Hills/Madera Canyon, Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains including Mount Lemmon/Summerhaven, Baboquivari Mountains including Kitt Peak, Kofa, Central La Paz, Aguila Valley, Southeast Yuma County, Gila River Valley, Northwest Valley, Tonopah Desert, Gila Bend, Buckeye/Avondale, Cave Creek/New River, Deer Valley, Central Phoenix, North Phoenix/Glendale, New River Mesa, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Rio Verde/Salt River, East Valley, Fountain Hills/East Mesa, South Mountain/Ahwatukee, Southeast Valley/Queen Creek, Superior, Northwest Pinal County, West Pinal County, Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, Tonto Basin, Mazatzal Mountains, Pinal/Superstition Mountains, Sonoran Desert Natl Monument, San Carlos, Dripping Springs, Globe/Miami, Southeast Gila County

Gabby Petito tribute bench placed North Port park will serve as permanent memorial

Gabby Petito memorial bench in North Port (Photo: Joseph Petito)

A bench covered in colorful steel butterflies sits in the shade of trees in a North Port park. In the center, a plaque reads, "In Memory of Gabby Petito."

Aaron Betzner, owner of the metal fabrication company A Squared Fabrication in Indiana, created the bench and worked with the Petito family on the design to ensure the final piece of artwork was exactly what her parents wanted.

"Butterflies was the number one biggest, biggest thing," he said.


(Courtesy: North Port Police)

But Betzner said beyond butterflies, the family allowed him to add his own ideas to the piece.

RELATED: 'RIP Gabby': Bradenton farm creates corn maze tribute to Gabby Petito

Instead of the usual two-person bench, it seats three. Betzner said he wanted it to be a place "where people can come and sit, reflect on their own life, reflect on Gabby, kind of a little sanctuary space."

The bench is just steps away from where a makeshift memorial once stood for the 22-year-old. Supporters from across the country traveled to visit the memorial, and brought teddy bears, flowers, posters and mementos, which piled up outside of North Port City Hall.


RELATED: Gabby Petito Foundation 'up and running' to help parents bring 'their children home'

However, city officials took down the makeshift memorial last month after wind and rain had started to damage the items.

The Petito family's lawyer confirmed that Gabby's parents would be able to choose any items they may want to keep.

Petito's disappearance while on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, sparked a nationwide search. Laundrie returned to his parents' North Port home in the van without her on Sept. 1, though he would end up going missing as well.

RELATED: Brian Laundrie found: Gov. DeSantis 'committed to doing whatever he can to help prevent domestic violence'

Petito's remains were found Sept. 19 at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. More than a month later, Laundrie's skeletal remains were discovered in a North Port park.

Law enforcement across the country believe the attention Petito's case received helped with finding the remains of at least six additional missing individuals.


(Courtesy: North Port Police)

Just weeks after Petito's body was found, her parents started the Gabby Petito Foundation with the goal of giving guidance and resources to parents to help them locate their missing children. 

"No one should have to find their child on their own," Joseph Petito said. "We are looking to help people in similar situations as Gabby."