Roanoke-based organization helps in the effort to locate Gabby Petito

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – The search for Gabby Petito that has garnered national headlines is seemingly ending in heartbreak as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said a body that matched a description of the 22-year-old was found in Wyoming. Authorities have not yet confirmed the body’s identity.

A Roanoke nonprofit organization, the Aware Foundation, has been helping in search efforts.

“Gabby’s mother and stepmother contacted us asking if there was anything we can do on our end,” said the organization’s founder and president, Kenny Jarels.

(Photo: Courtesy The Aware Foundation)

A missing person flyer, developed when Petito disappeared, was created by the Aware Foundation. Jarels says it was viewed by more than two million people and shared close to 20,000 times.

“You’ve seen it on Good Morning America,” said Jarels. “You saw it on FOX News. You saw it on CNN. You saw it all over in Wyoming and Montana.”

Jarels started the national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in February 2016. He says a relative of his went missing in the 1980s. That person’s remains were found a week later. According to Jarels, it appeared as if the relative had been murdered; however, there was not enough evidence for anyone to be tried.

The Aware Foundation has helped families in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Jarels says they treat every missing person’s case the same.

“We don’t put any case above anyone else. Every missing person is important. Every single missing person,” Jarels said.

To learn more about the Aware Foundation, click here.

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