A hiker near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina claims he had a nighttime encounter with Brian Laundrie on Saturday morning, weeks after the fugitive boyfriend of slain Gabby Petito was last seen.
Dennis Davis’ says he has ‘no doubt’ he encountered Petito’s boyfriend on a deserted road close to the trail close to the Tennessee border
Davis, 53, who is an engineer from Florida, says he spoke to a man who waved down his car on Waterville Road, near the Appalachian Trail and close to the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.
A hiker near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina claims he had a nighttime encounter with Brian Laundrie on Saturday morning, weeks after the fugitive boyfriend of slain Gabby Petito was last seen in Florida
He says the man pulled up alongside Davis and made a bizarre request for help as he asked for directions in order to drive west to California using only back roads.
Davis, a dad-of-four, suggested he simply take Interstate 40 which runs east to west across the country from North Carolina all the way to California.
‘There is no doubt in my mind I spoke to Brian Laundrie — none whatsoever,’ Davis told the New York Post.
‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’s daughter sent me an audio file of Brian’s voice and the voice was the same I heard.’
The Appalachians is believed to be familiar to Laundrie who is thought to have lived outdoors for on his own for months.
Davis’ claims came as protestors gathered outside the Florida home of the older sister of Brian Laundrie on Saturday.
A small group of around seven people stood in the street directly in front of 31-year-old Cassie Luycx’s home to demand the family speak with police regarding the her 23-year-old brother’s disappearance
Gabrielle Petito, 22, from her Instagram page, is seen with boyfriend Brian Laundrie
A small group of around seven people stood in the street directly in front of 31-year-old Cassie Luycx’s home to demand the family speak with police regarding the her 23-year-old brother’s disappearance.
‘We want you to start cooperating with law enforcement! Pick up the phone and call the FBI!’ they shouted through a megaphone.
Cassie has kept a low profile following the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito as well as the manhunt for brother Brian.
Attention shifted to her after she a family lawyer revealed that she had seen Brian at a campground, together with their parents, on September 6 as well as on the 1st of the month following his solo return from his cross-country trip.
Prior to Petito’s body being found, Cassie was the only member of the family who had spoken publicly about her disappearance.
She told ABC News that she had not been able to talk to her brother.
‘I wish I could talk to him,’ Cassie said. ‘I know that it’s all because the lawyers, advising them not to say anything.’
The 31-year-old sister of Brian Laundrie, Cassie, is the only member of the family who has spoken publicly about Petito and her brother’s disappearance
Gabby Petitio’s body was found in the Spread Creek campsite in Wyoming on Sunday and the next day her death was ruled a homicide. She is pictured during a police stop in August
Laundrie was last seen more than a week ago and his whereabouts remain unknown. He is pictured during a police stop last month
Hiker Davis is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail himself and noted the man he believed to Laundrie acted nervously and said something about being in a fight with his girlfriend.
‘He said ‘Man, I’m lost.’ I said ‘What are you trying to find?’ and he said ‘Me and my girlfriend got in a fight but she called me, told me she loves me, and I have to get to California to see her.”
‘I said ‘Well, I-40 is right there and you could take it west to California’ and he said, ‘I’m just going to take this road into California’.
‘He was worried and not making sense,’ Davis added.
He did not immediately recognize him as Laundrie but is certain it was him.
Brian Laundrie, 23, who was reported missing last week, remains a person of interest in the disappearance and death of fiancée Gabby Petito
Despite lighting being poor because of the night, he believes there was enough lighting from the cars headlights to make a positive identification.
The man he believed to be Laundrie was driving a light-colored pickup and was wearing a bandana on his head.
It wasn’t until later, with Davis having looked up photos of the man on his cellphone that he realized whom he had just spoken with.
Davis claims to have made several calls to the FBI and to 911 in the hours after the encounter but frustratingly nobody has yet called him back.
‘Law enforcement is probably getting millions of leads on this guy, but I am not some goofball out there doing drugs in the middle of the night, I am a highly educated professional. ‘And I know that was the guy. There is no doubt about it.
‘We have this lead but no one’s doing anything, not even a phone call.
Davis told Laundrie his best way to head to California would be to take Interstate 40 which runs for more than 2,500 miles from North Carolina
‘Obviously, as a father with a daughter, I want to do whatever I can to help the family find closure and get this guy off the streets,’ Davis said.
Laundrie was last seen on in early September having returned to Florida from a trip across the country without his girlfriend, Long Island native Gabby Petito.
She was reported missing on September 11 and her remains were found later in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. An autopsy has ruled her death a homicide.
Laundrie is sole person of interest in the case with a warrant out for his arrest on charges of fraud. He vanished on September 14 but his sudden disappearance was not mentioned to police for a further three days.
The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11
Timeline of missing Gabby Petito’s case
- July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip
- August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple
- Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie
- Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nicole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park
- Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes
- Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune, of Red White & Bethune, around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground
- Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm; Schmidt says she is not entertaining this claim and believes it possibly factual
- Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito: ‘No service in Yosemite’
- Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito
- Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida
- Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day
- Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito
- Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Also on this day, Laundrie allegedly left his parents’ home for a hike
- Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case
- Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown
- Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie
- Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon
- Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation
- Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carton Reserve
- Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13
- Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando
- Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie
- Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children
- Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left
- Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14; Dog the Bounty Hunter searches the area near Fort De Soto finding a recently drunk can of Monster Energy at a makeshift campsite deep in the woods
- Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home
- Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did