Hiker certain he ran into Gabby Petitos fugitive boyfriend on popular trail

A hiker is ‘certain’ that he saw Brian Laundrie, the fugitive boyfriend of ‘murdered’ Gabby Petito, on a popular trail yesterday.

Dennis Davis believes he bumped into the 23-year-old near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, close to the Tennessee border.

53-year-old Davis, an engineer from Florida was walking along the trail when a man in a vehicle fitting Laundrie’s description pulled up to ask him for directions.

According to the Mirror Davis has “no doubt” that man was Laundrie, who disappeared three weeks ago after police named him as a “person of interest” in Gabby’s case.

Influencer Gabby, 22 and Laundrie embarked on a trip across the USA in her van, but when Laundrie returned home, on September 1, without Gabby suspicions began to rise.

Gabby was officially reported missing on September 11. Her body was then discovered near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 19.

Laundrie went missing shortly before Gabby's body was found and has not been seen since.

Mr Davis, a dad-of-four, said the man he saw was driving a coloured pickup and wearing a dark bandana. The man claimed he was "lost" and trying to get to California to go and see his girlfriend after they got into a fight.

He said: "He was worried and not making sense."

The hiker said he did not immediately recognise the man and only after the encounter he thought it might be Laundrie.

He told the New York Post: "There is no doubt in my mind I spoke to Brian Laundrie — none whatsoever.

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"Dog the Bounty Hunter's daughter sent me an audio file of Brian's voice and the voice was the same I heard."

Mr Davis said he has contacted authorities about the interaction but has not heard from the FBI or police yet.

He added: "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."

Last week, a woman claimed she picked Laundrie up while he was hitchhiking last month and dropped him off at the site where the body of his partner Gabby was discovered.

Norma Jean Jalovec said she gave Laundrie, a ride in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, on August 29, two days after Ms Petito was last seen.

She said Laundrie had got into the front seat of her jeep at about 6.15 pm after she saw him “walking backwards and holding out his thumb” in an attempt to hitch a ride.

While she drove, Laundrie told her he had spent time hiking and seen elk and moose, and that he had a fiance, she said.

The search for him is now entering its third week, with his family lawyer saying they hope he is still alive.

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