‘People go where they’re familiar,’ says former FBI official on Laundrie search

Gabby Petito Case

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A former FBI official says it’s possible Brian Laundrie is on the Appalachian Trail following reports the person of interest was seen there, but he would like to see more corroborating evidence.

“We’ve had fugitive hunts up there. It is a fairly well-traveled trail,” said former Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Unit Chris Swecker. “I believe he will come across people if he is in fact on the trail.”

Swecker added that authorities in North Carolina have investigated reports that Laundrie was seen on the trail and have not been able to confirm those sightings.

“They think it’s possible, but they haven’t found anything that corroborates that he is in fact on the trail,” he said.

Brian Laundrie flew home to Florida from the Western U.S. on Aug. 17, five days after he and Gabby Petito were pulled over and separated by police in Moab, Utah. The Laundrie family attorney said Tuesday that Laundrie’s parents now believe they last saw him Sept. 13, a day earlier than they’d previously told investigators.

Swecker believes Laundrie’s distinctive tattoos could be a key factor in finding him — along with the amount of media coverage of the case.

“He is well-known. His photo is everywhere, you don’t have to watch the mainstream media. It’s all over every possible social media, every form of media,” Swecker said.

While Swecker believes it is a possibility Laundrie is on the trail, he says it’s not as deserted as some may believe and hikers routinely pass by one another.

“I think he would be running a huge risk if he were in fact on the trail,” he said.

If Laundrie is on the trail, Swecker is advising people in the area to check their cabins, as Laundrie may be running low on supplies.

“He will have to get inside if he’s on the trail. I just don’t think he can stay outdoors with the weather coming up,” Swecker said.

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