If the latest Brian Laundrie sighting rumor is true, then it means Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman is far from the fugitive's trail. Laundrie disappeared into the backcountry weeks ago, and this weekend hiker Dennis Davis claims that he saw Laundrie on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. That does not bode well for Chapman's promises to catch the 23-year-old.
Laundrie is wanted on federal charges for using his late girlfriend's debit card after her murder last month, and he is also a person of interest in the homicide investigation. He has been eluding authorities since at least Sept. 15, but Davis told The New York Post that he may still be on foot. The 53-year-old engineer said that he encountered someone matching Laundrie's description on the AT on Saturday morning. If that weren't enough, he said that Chapman's daughter sent him an audio file of Laundrie's voice to verify the identification.
"There is no doubt in my mind I spoke to Brian Laundrie - none whatsoever," Davis said. "Dog the Bounty Hunter's daughter sent me an audio file of Brian's voice and the voice was the same I heard."
Davis said that the man he believes was Laundrie flagged him down where the trail crosses Waterville Road, near the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. He said the man seemed to be lost and dazed, and that he was actually driving a car. Davis said that the man asked him if he knew a route to California using only back roads.
Davis said that he was confused, and he told the stranger to simply take Interstate 40. The stranger reportedly refused this suggestion, and "rambled" about being "in a fight with his girlfriend." He said that the stranger was "wigged out," which he believes was a sign of stress from the nationwide manhunt for Laundrie right now.
"He said 'me and my girlfriend got in a fight but she called me, told me she loves me, and I have to get to California to see her,'" Davis recalled. The stranger was reportedly driving a light-colored pick-up truck - possibly a Ford F-150 - and was wearing a dark-colored bandana on his head. While Davis did not believe the man was in full control of his senses, the real Laundrie is reportedly familiar with the Appalachian Trail having spent months hiking it in the past, so it is one place where he might gravitate.
Davis said that he has contacted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, and he has been frustrated by their disinterest in his tip. He noted that authorities are probably getting many leads on Laundrie, but he believes his is one of the most credible out there.
Laundrie is wanted by the FBI for using the late Gabby Petito's debit card after her murder, and for further questioning in that murder investigation. At the time of this writing, he remains at large.