Hiker Claims He Encountered Brian Laundrie In N.C.

This photo provided by North Port Police Department, law enforcement officials conduct a search of the vast Carlton Reserve in the Sarasota, Fla., area for Brian Laundrie on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.(North Port Police Department via AP)

This photo provided by North Port Police Department, law enforcement officials conduct a search of the vast Carlton Reserve in the Sarasota, Fla., area for Brian Laundrie on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.(North Port Police Department via AP)


A Florida man said there was no doubt in his mind that he had spoken with the fiancé of Gabby Petito and person of interest in her death Brian Laundrie. According to reports, 53-year-old Dennis Davis claimed he encountered the man believed to be Laundrie on a deserted road near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina on Saturday.

Davis said the lost and dazed man rambled about a fight with his girlfriend and asked for direction to California using only back roads. Davis expressed frustration that his three calls to the FBI and 9-1-1 calls were not returned by law enforcement.

After joining the manhunt for Brian Laundrie, reality TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter, also known as Duane Chapman, said he’s contracted a private team and K9 unit to help with the search.

“The search now is really on,” Chapman expressed. “The search has just begun.”

In a video on Wednesday, Chapman said a crew of four people carrying backpacks and other supplies left on boats with three K9’s to search for Laundrie at Egmont Key Island off the coast of Florida. However, Chapman and his search team found no conclusive evidence that Laundrie was on the island.

The attorney for the Laundrie family confirmed the suspect and his parents went camping together nearly a week after he returned home without Gabby Petito. A public records request revealed Laundrie’s mother checked in at Fort de Soto Park in early September, which lies about 75 miles from the family’s home in North Port, Florida.

Dog the Bounty Hunter previously claimed he had received a tip that said the family had left the campground without him. The Laundrie attorney refuted the claim by saying all three left the park together.

While the search for Laundrie continues, Petito’s family created the Gabby Petito Foundation in her memory. Donations can me made through the web page.

“We’re just hoping that through our tragedy with losing Gabby that, in the future, that some good can come out of it, that we can help other people that may be in a similar situation, reach out to these other organizations that do similar things and find out what’s missing,” expressed Petito’s stepfather Jim Schmidt. “What can we do to fill that void? What can we do to help people?”

Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, said they wanted his daughter’s name to remembered for something positive and not just for this tragedy. He said noted, “we can’t let her name be taken in vain.”

Petito’s body was found in a Wyoming national park on September 19, which sparked a massive manhunt to find her 23-year-old fiancĂ©. Laundrie turned up without her on September 1, despite the couple traveling in a cross-country trip together.

Authorities are now offering up to $30,000 in rewards for tips on Laundrie’s whereabouts as the search continues. Laundrie is the only person of interest in Petito’s murder.

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