Hiker claims he saw Brian Laundrie near Appalachian Trail days ago
Dennis Davis, who believes he saw Brian Laundrie while hiking, says the man he encountered wanted to go to California. Davis said he is speaking out in hopes authorities will send resources to that location.
Dennis Davis, the hiker who claimed he spoke to fugitive Brian Laundrie on Oct. 2, says the FBI “took a lot of notes” when he met with an agent and North Carolina law enforcement Wednesday.
Davis claimed in a Saturday interview with Fox News Digital he was “100%” sure he encountered the fugitive wanted on debit card fraud charges on Waterville Road around 12:30 ET at the Tennessee-North Carolina state line near the Appalachian Trail.
The hiker from Florida met with the FBI and Haywood, North Carolina, sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday for about 45 minutes to discuss the encounter. During the encounter, the man Davis believes was Laundrie asked him for directions to California.
“I’d say it was a pretty straightforward meeting,” Davis told Fox News Digital. “I met with one FBI agent and two … local sheriff’s officers. We went through the story from top to bottom. They obviously asked details about Brian and the vehicle and the overall interaction.”
Dennis Davis (Fox News)
He added that the agent and deputies “took a lot of notes” and “paid attention” to what he was saying.
Laundrie is a person of interest in the death of his 22-year-old fiancée, Gabby Petito. The FBI and local law enforcement discovered her remains in Wyoming last month.
People have reported many potential Laundrie sightings across the country as his whereabouts remain unknown in the high-profile case. People have claimed to have seen the 23-year-old avid hiker in Watauga County and Boone, North Carolina, according to multiple reports. Another potential witness told Fox News Digital she believed she saw Laundrie at a Bristol, Tennessee, gas station on Sept. 29. No sightings have been confirmed.
“I told them … the main reason for … asking for the meeting with them was because I wanted them to gauge for themselves if they thought I was a credible witness, but the thing they did tell me is that they’re taking any tip as credible,” Davis said.
The hiker expressed some frustration that he hadn’t heard from any law enforcement after making six calls following the encounter.
The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office said in its dispatch that it received a call from Davis after 2 a.m. Saturday near the Waterville exit, where he had had regained cell phone services and looked over more photos of Laundrie. Davis related the story to police, and the sheriff’s office dispatched two to three deputies to the area. Deputies came across three idle vehicles. They searched the registrations for all three but all came up with nothing of substance related to the hunt for Laundrie.
The sheriff’s office, which said at the time that it had received about 10 reports of Laundrie sightings and calls between Saturday and Sunday, sent a team to an area near the Waterville exit.
“We have received a number of calls regarding the sighting of Brian Laundrie over the past several days, each one being investigated thoroughly and areas of concern searched, but all to no avail,” Haywood Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Christina Esmay told Fox News Sunday. “We will continue to respond and fully investigate all calls for service related to the nationwide search for Mr. Laundrie within our jurisdiction.”
Both Laundrie and Petito have reportedly hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail. In March, Petito shared a photograph on Instagram with a geotag for the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.
Brian Laundrie (Moab Police Department)
Laundrie and Petito were traveling across the country in a Ford Transit van over the summer before Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1 in the van without Petito. Petito’s parents reported her missing 10 days later on Sept. 11. Laundrie’s parents reported Laundrie missing on Sept. 17 but claim the last time they saw him was on Sept. 14.
Laundrie did cooperate with the police investigation after Petito’s missing person report was filed Sept. 11, officials have said. The Laundries’ attorney released a statement Sept. 14, advising his clients to remain “in the background.” The family revealed three days later it had not seen him since Sept. 14.
Petito’s body was discovered near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19. A Teton County coroner ruled the death a homicide but has not yet announced the cause.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones, Michael Ruiz and Kathleen Reushcle contributed to this report.
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