DOG the Bounty Hunter is searching the Appalachian Trail to find Brian Laundrie as he “follows up on a tip from a hiker who claims he spoke to Gabby Petito’s missing fiancé".
Engineer Dennis Davis, of Florida, claimed that a “dazed” Laundrie met him on the hiking route on October 2 and was told that he needed to get back to his girlfriend.
Davis, 53, believes he spoke with Laundrie near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Lyssa Chapman, the daughter of reality TV star Dog, said that she has since reached out to the hiker.
She told the New York Post: “I do believe Dennis. I am convinced he’s convinced. We’re doing everything we can to verify Dennis’ tip but there isn’t much to go off other than the location. But we’re working that tip for sure.”
In a tweet posted Sunday, Chapman said: “Update: Kept offline today to give us all a break. We are all still working hard behind the scenes.
"Dad & Francie spent another day in the field, and I on the lines. Keep the leads and tips coming."
Almost 3,000 tips have been sent as the bounty hunter's personal hotline 833-TELLDOG has been flooded with potential leads.
Gabby celebrated her 22nd birthday with Laundrie on the Appalachian Trail earlier this year and one of the vlogger's pals Rose Davis said the fugitive had previously lived on the hiking route for "months".
Davis said he received an audio message from Dog to confirm if he spotted Gabby's fiancé.
Read our Brian Laundrie live blog for the very latest news and updates…
The father-of-four insisted the man who waved him down on the Appalachian Trail is Laundrie, The New York Post reports.
He said: "There is no doubt in my mind I spoke to Brian Laundrie – none whatsoever."
According to Davis, the man, who he says is Laundrie, said “me and my girlfriend got in a fight but she called me, told me she loves me, and I have to get to California to see her”.
He added: “He was worried and not making sense.”
Davis said he didn’t immediately recognize Laundrie until he looked up photos of the fugitive on his phone.
He claims to have contacted the FBI and 911 in both North Carolina and Tennessee but alleges his calls have not been returned by law enforcement.
The hiker said: "Obviously, as a father with a daughter, I want to do whatever I can to help the family find closure and get this guy off the streets.
"Law enforcement is probably getting millions of leads on this guy, but I am not some goofball out there doing drugs in the middle of the night, I am a highly educated professional.
"And I know that was the guy. There is no doubt about it. We have this lead but no one’s doing anything, not even a phone call."
'I WANT TO HELP'
Laundrie returned to Florida on September 1 – weeks after starting a cross-country road trip with his fiancé Gabby, 22.
The pair documented their travels on social media as they visited canyon ranges and national parks in Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming
Gabby was reported missing on September 11 and her remains were found in Wyoming eight days later.
Laundrie was reported missing on September 17 – days after allegedly telling his parents that he was going for a hike in the alligator-infested Carlton Reserve.
Weeks later, cops continue to scour the reserve while Dog is scouring for potential clues in the Fort de Soto area.
It has emerged that Laundrie previously stayed at the campground with his parents.
The TV star’s daughter Lyssa Chapman said Dog found personal items he believes may belong to Laundrie at the campground on Tuesday.
Chapman didn't offer a description of the item's her father reportedly found.
Dog has speculated that Laundrie may be moving from island to island in a canoe as he remains at large.
He also claims that he is close to catching the 23-year-old, noting that it's "very easy to hide out" at the rural campsite.
Dog and his crew sniffed out a fresh Monster Energy Ultra Gold can at the site deep in the woods of Shell Island near Fort De Soto.
The can showed no signs of rust or faded colors suggesting it had recently been discarded, according to Fox News. The find has not been confirmed to be Laundrie's.
A former US Marshal believes Laundrie is “sleeping with one eye open” as cops try to find the missing fugitive.
Lenny DePaul told the New York Post: “I personally think he could be anywhere. It doesn’t matter. He’s gonna mess up. He’s going to make a mistake.”
Maureen O’Connell, formerly of the FBI, believes Laundrie will be found alive.
Survivalist Dave Canterbury speculated that Gabby’s fiancé could be hiding out in an urbanized environment and claimed Laundrie would have a better chance of not being caught if he dons a mask and hoodie.
Canterbury told The Sun: “In my mind, he is much more likely to be able to maintain an on-the-run status and not be caught if he is trying to blend in an urban environment.
“If Laundrie has money and he can put on a mask, hat, and hoodie, he could probably walk into a rural store and not be recognized – 90 percent of the time."
He said it would be difficult for police to find Laundrie unless the fugitive tells someone who he is, or is recognized by a member of the public.
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