Gabby Petito: Police speak with TikTok ‘witness’ who claims she picked up Brian Laundrie in Grand Teton

‘When we picked him up he was wearing a backpack, a long sleeve, pants, hiking boots, and he had scruff, but he didn’t look dirty’

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Friday 17 September 2021 23:34
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Search continue for missing Gabby Petito

Police have confirmed they have spoken to a TikTok “witness” who claims she gave a ride to Gabby Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who was hitchhiking by himself.

As the parents of the 22-year-old woman continue to plead for help in finding her, and her boyfriend continues to decline speak to officers, police in Florida confirmed they had spoken to a woman who claims she and her own boyfriend gave a lift to Mr Laundrie in Grand Teton National Park.

In a series of videos posted on TikTok, Miranda Baker, said they had picked up Mr Laundrie, who was hitchhiking by himself, on 29 August.

“Hi, my name is Miranda, and on August 29th, my boyfriend and I picked up Brian at Grand Teton National Park at 5.30pm at night at Colter Bay,” Ms Baker said in the first of a series of videos posted on Friday.

“I’m hoping this can help someone identify him, because I saw him from TikTok, which then made me call the authorities, and my boyfriend and I have been in contact with a bunch of different people to help piece together different parts of this case.”

Ms Baker, 22, stressed that she and her boyfriend had passed their information to the police, and the FBI.

The investigation into the disappearance of Ms Petito, who was reported missing by her parents last week after failing to return from a cross country trip with Mr Laundrie is being headed by North Port Police Department in Florida, where Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie live.

A spokesperson for the department, Joshua Taylor, confirmed to The Independent they had spoken to Ms Baker.

“We have talked to her,” he said in an email. “That is all I can confirm.”

There was no immediate response to enquiries from the FBI, and Ms Baker, from Appleton, Wisconsin, also did not respond to questions.

The report from Ms Baker is the believed to be the first to suggest Mr Laundrie had been hitchhiking.

National Search Underway For Gabby Petito

“He approached us asking us for a ride because he needed to go to Jackson, [and] we were going to Jackson that night,” she said.

“So I said ‘You know, hop in’, and he hopped in the back of my Jeep, we then proceeded to make small talk, but before he came in the car he offered to pay us like $200, to give him a ride, like 10 miles.”

She said: “So that was kind of weird. He then told us he’s been camping for multiple days without his fiancé, he did say he had a fiancé, and that she was working on their social media page back at their van.”

She added: “Then once in conversation I brought up ‘We’re going to Jackson’ [and] he freaked out. He’s like ‘Nope, I need to get out right now, pull over’.”

She said she and her boyfriend pulled over at the Jackson Dam, which is close to Colter Bay.

“We dropped him off at 6.09pm on August 29th. He kind of hurried out of the car, and then was like ‘I’m just going to find someone else to go hitchhike’,” she said.

“And we were like, Okay. It was a weird situation. So when we picked him up he was wearing a backpack, a long sleeve, pants, hiking boots, and he had scruff, but he didn’t look dirty.”

Other witnesses have spoken of seeing Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie at various points during their travels.

Jaye Foster, who is from Alabama, and traveling the US in his own bus, met the couple near Moab, Utah, on 10 August. He told The Independent: “There seemed to be nothing wrong whatsoever. On the surface at least. They both seemed perfectly fine in the 45 minutes I hung out with them before going on my hike at Arches.”

He added: “They were smiling, laughing, holding hands, etc. This whole thing has thrown me off guard. I guess you never really know what’s going on behind closed doors.”

While Mr Laundrie has declined to speak with police who have termed him a person of interest, he issued a statement saying he hoped the search for Ms Petito was successful. Police have not identified any evidence of a crime.

Meanwhile on Friday, his sister spoke warmly of her brother

Appearing on ABC News’s Good Morning America, Cassie Laundrie said she had not spoken to him since he returned to his home in North Port.

“I wish I could talk to him,” she said. “I’ve cooperated every way that I can. I wish I had information or I would give more.”

She said her brother was the type of person who would do the right thing for his family and Ms Petito.

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