A hiker in Tennessee claimed that he saw Brian Laundrie, who is wanted by the FBI, near the Appalachian Trail near the North Carolina border on Saturday.
Dennis Davis, who spoke to a number of news outlets over the weekend, said that he saw a man who resembled Laundrie driving a white pickup truck around 12:30 a.m. ET on Saturday in the area. Davis recalled that he didn’t at the time realize the driver was Laundrie. After the encounter, he looked up photos of the FBI fugitive, who is wanted on fraud charges but is a person of interest in the death of his fiance, Gabby Petito.
“There is no doubt about it. That was Brian Laundrie I was just talking to. 100 percent. Not a doubt in my mind,” Davis told Fox News, adding that he called the FBI twice as well as 911 operators in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Davis said he and several other hikers were about to leave a car near the Appalachian Trail and was going to sleep at the trailhead. When Davis tried to perform a U-turn, he saw a white truck that flashed its headlights signaling that he could complete the U-turn, he recalled.
Then, the man in the vehicle stuck his hand out of the window.
“I pulled up alongside of the vehicle,” Davis stated, adding that “I rolled my window down and I started talking with the gentleman. I could tell right away that something wasn’t right with him.”
The driver told Davis that he was lost and was attempting to get to California after fighting with his girlfriend.
“He said me and my girlfriend had a fight, and man, I love her, and she called me, and I need to go out to California to see her,” Davis told the outlet, saying he told the driver to take Interstate 40 West. The driver, he added, told him that would rather stay on Waterville Road near the Pigeon River.
After speaking with the man, Davis wondered whether the driver was Laundrie, who appeared tired or on drugs.
“So I got to the next spot where I was going to park and I pulled open my phone and I started looking through pictures. And the thing when I was talking to him which really stood out to me was: He had a very full but short, very thick, dark, black beard and mustache. And so when I parked my car and I pulled up the picture of him on the internet…and there was that beard and mustache,” Davis said.
Petito was officially reported missing by her family on Sept. 11 and was later found dead in Wyoming. Her manner of death was ruled a homicide by a local coroner.
She and Laundrie had traveled cross-country before Laundrie returned back to his home in North Port, Florida, weeks ago without Petito. His parents reported that Laundrie went missing on Sept. 14.