(ABC4) – A hiker says he may have spoken with Brian Laundrie near the Appalachian Trail over the weekend. The manhunt continues for Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito.
In mid-September, Laundrie’s parents reported him missing to the police on Sept. 17, over two weeks after he is said to have returned from a cross-country road trip with Petito. On Sept. 19, Petito was found dead in Wyoming.
Since Laundrie’s reported disappearance, authorities have been searching the Carlton Reserve in Florida, a 25,000-acre nature preserve where Laundrie is said to frequent. Duane Chapman, better known by the name of his TV show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” says he believes Laundrie may be in a different nature area, Fort De Soto, roughly 65 miles away from the Carlton Reserve.
On Saturday, a hiker contacted authorities claiming he had seen and spoken with Laundrie near the Appalachian Trail at the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. In 911 audio obtained by NewsNation’s Brian Entin, the man, later identified as Dennis Davis, can be heard explaining that he was trying to make a U-turn when another man driving a truck stopped him. Davis tells the dispatcher he spoke with the man who was talking “wild” and said, “his girlfriend loved him.”
Davis says the man told him he had to go out to California to see his girlfriend. He then asked for directions on how to get to the west coast. Davis adds the man was “acting funny.” After the man drove away, Davis says he looked up a picture of Laundrie and is “99.99% sure that was him.”
The dispatcher then tells Davis she would pass along the information.
ABC4 affiliate NewsNation is expected to speak with Davis on Monday.
Meanwhile, in Florida, authorities are now in their third week of searching the Carlton Reserve. Affiliate WFLA reports airboats and ATVs are combing through the 25,000-acre nature area. A federal warrant has been issued for Laundrie, accusing him of “use of unauthorized access devices” following Petito’s death.