Gabby Petito case: Hiker claims to have seen Brian Laundrie near Appalachian Trail

Gabby Petito Case

NORTH PORT, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — A hiker told authorities that he believes he saw Brian Laundrie near the Appalachian Trail this weekend, as the manhunt for the boyfriend of Gabby Petito continued.

NewsNation’s Michael Shure spoke with a North Carolina deputy sheriff Sunday who said a man named Dennis Davis claims he gave directions to a man who looks just like Brian Laundrie.

Davis told authorities the man he saw in the Appalachian Mountains near the border of North Carolina and Tennessee on Saturday was asking for directions to California. NewsNation is set to speak with Davis Monday afternoon.

Tim Clemente, a former FBI agent, told Shure that this is the type of tip law enforcement agencies will focus on because it has specificity: time and place.

According to his parents, Laundrie was last seen Sept. 14, entering the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Florida, but he was not reported missing until a few days later. Investigators had focused intently on the area after Laundrie’s parents told police he may have gone there. 

The FBI has issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie. He is wanted for “use of unauthorized access device” related to his activities following Petito’s death. The FBI says he used a debit card and a PIN to access two bank accounts Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.

Petito was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she didn’t respond to calls and texts for several days. She and Laundrie had been visiting national parks in the Western U.S. Her body was discovered days later at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Her death has been ruled a homicide, but authorities in Wyoming haven’t disclosed how she died pending further autopsy results.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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