Brian Laundrie: At least a dozen sightings reported in North Carolina, says Haywood county sheriff’s office

An unidentified man told the police he was ‘99.99 per cent’ certain he spoke to Mr Laundrie

Arpan Rai
Wednesday 06 October 2021 11:23
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Gabby Petito’s father calls Laundrie family ‘cowards’
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Gabby Petito’s missing fiancé Brian Laundrie could have spent last weekend near the Tennessee border in North Carolina, according to tips received by the police from strangers who said they met a man fitting his description.

At least a dozen such tips and calls from the area have been received by the police since Thursday, said a spokeswoman for the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office.

Petito’s death was confirmed last month after her remains were found in Wyoming’s Spread Creek, the same location where the couple’s traveller van was stationed. A manhunt was launched for Mr Laundrie, who had later gone missing.

An unidentified man, who claimed to have encountered Mr Laundrie in the early hours of Saturday, told the police he was “99.99 per cent” certain it was him, reported NBC News.

“He was talking wild. He said that his girlfriend left him and he had to go out to California to see her,” he told a 911 dispatcher, according to audio released on Monday.

At first, the caller was not sure, but moments later, he stepped aside to look up Mr Laundrie’s photos. “And I’m 99.99 per cent sure that was him.”

File: Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, known to be in a troubled relationship, set out on a cross country trip in early July

The caller, whose name was not released, also told the dispatcher that the man he spoke to was driving a white pickup truck, which he believed could have been a new Ford F-150 model.

The man in the pickup truck had signalled to the caller that he wanted to speak at a parking lot along the Appalachian Trail.

Authorities attempting to track Mr Laundrie’s whereabouts said they have thoroughly followed up on every tip, but could not find anything, said an earlier statement released by the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.

Many other calls of those saying they spotted Mr Laundrie have been received by police across the country, including in Alabama and Montana, while some calls have been received across the border, in Canada.

Petito and Mr Laundrie, known to be in a troubled relationship, set out on a cross country trip in early July in a mini camper van and covered a number of national parks in their 2,328-mile-long road trip.

The couple hit a rough patch along the way and were seen arguing and fighting by police in August, when the two had to be physically separated from each another during an altercation.

Named as a person of interest in Petito’s death, Mr Laundrie was last seen by his parents in Florida on 14 September when he said he was going to the “unforgiving” Carlton reserve park.

This happened three weeks after communication between Petito and her family became scarce, triggering panic about her whereabouts.

Petito’s mother Nicole Schmidt said she last spoke with her daughter on 25 August, following which she stopped hearing from her towards the first week of September, forcing the family to register a complaint with the police.

Amid the search for Petito, Mr Laundrie returned home on 1 September without her, raising concerns about what had happened between them.

An arrest warrant has been issued for him over financial discrepancies on the grounds of “knowingly and with intent to defraud, using” unauthorised devices, including a Capitol One bank debit card and personal identification numbers for two accounts, one believed to be Petito’s.

Ms Schmidt has alleged Mr Laundrie’s parents, who said they did not help his son escape, know “a lot more information than they are putting out there”.

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