Brian Laundrie manhunt: Dog the Bounty Hunter searches the Appalachian Trail for trails after reported sightings
Investigators working with Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman focus on portions of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina as they continue their search for Brian Laundrie, who is wanted on bank fraud charges after his fiancée, Gabby Petito, was found dead in Wyoming.
As the manhunt continues, people have claimed to have seen the 23-year-old avid hiker in Watauga County, North Carolina, according to multiple reports. Users of a private Facebook page, Appalachian Classifieds, described how people “reported seeing Brian Laundrie in Boone, North Carolina,” according to the Watauga Democrat.
The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office told local affiliate FOX 46, “We are investigating these allegations, but nothing has been verified.” The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for confirmation.
This is far from the first time members of the public have reported seeing Laundrie since he allegedly disappeared on September 14. Earlier this month, people reported possible sightings in Mobile, Ala., Where a man was found dead near a local Walmart store, and in surveillance camera footage from Baker, Ala. ‘Okaloosa, Florida.
Earlier this week, Lyssa Chapman, daughter of Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman, tweeted that the team “was looking for an experienced HIKER / SURVIVALIST near the Appalachian Hiking Trail in North Carolina.”
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She then asked the public to share Laundrie’s photo ID with those who live in “backwoods” communities in North Carolina. She also urged hunters and people who lived near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina to check their hunting cameras.
The Appalachian Trail as a whole is “the longest hiking trail in the world, stretching from Maine to Georgia,” according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It stretches for more than 2,193 miles and spans 14 states. In North Carolina alone, the Appalachian Trail covers 96.4 miles and reaches elevations of up to 5,498 feet.
Laundrie and Petito both reportedly hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail. In March, Petito shared a photo on Instagram with a geotag for the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.
And a woman who says she was one of Petito’s best friends, Rose Davis, told PEOPLE Laundrie “lived alone in the Appalachians for months.”
“He’s in the wilderness, I promise you,” David, 21, told the site. She later added that she believed that if he was alive he was “camping”. Davis did not respond to Fox News’ previous request for comment.
Petito, 22 and 23, Laundrie met in Long Island, NY, where they grew up, and started dating after attending high school together. They then moved with Laundrie’s parents to North Port, Florida.
They embarked on a trip across the country in mid-June with the intention of visiting national parks and popular hiking trails in a white Ford Transit, which they had turned into an RV.
Then on September 1, months after their trip began, Laundrie returned to the North Port home in the couple’s van, but without Petito, officials said. Her mother reported her missing 10 days later, on September 11, to Suffolk County, NY, police. Police seized the van from the laundries’ home the same day.
Laundrie was later named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, and on Thursday the FBI issued an arrest warrant for bank card fraud. Authorities alleged that he used someone’s Capital One Bank card and personal identification number during Petito’s disappearance.
But Laundrie also later disappeared, her parents said through their lawyer.
After Petito’s missing persons report was filed on September 11, Laundrie did not cooperate with the police investigation, officials said. The laundries lawyer issued a statement on September 14, in which he announced that he had advised his clients to stay “in the background”. The family revealed three days later that they had not seen him since September 14.
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Petito’s body was discovered near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming September 19. A Teton County coroner has ruled on the death of a homicide but has not yet announced the cause. Friends, family and the public paid tribute in a Sunday ceremony on Long Island.
In the days after Laundrie arrived home alone, Charlene Guthrie, who lives right across from the Laundrie family, told Fox News she saw Laundrie mow the lawn, ride a bike with her mother. and pretending to go camping with his parents. Petito previously lived with the family at their home in North Port, Florida.
“Dog” Chapman announced on Saturday that he was entering in search of Laundrie, and tips quickly poured in. He told Fox News he received a tip on Monday that Laundrie’s parents spent the night at Fort De Soto Park with their son twice in early September starting in September. 1-3 and 6-8 Sept.
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Records obtained by Robert Sherman from Fox News show that Laundrie’s mother, Roberta Laundrie, registered at the park on September 6 and indicated she would stay until September 8.
A spokesperson for the Pinellas County Sheriff confirmed to Fox News that the FBI is investigating surveillance footage of the park in connection with the Laundrie case.
Michael Ruiz of Fox News contributed to this report.