A Florida engineer hiking along the Appalachian Trail insists he chatted with Brian Laundrie on a deserted road near the Appalachian Trail on the North Carolina border at 12:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 2.
After his 22-year-old fiancée, Gabby Petito, was found dead in Wyoming last month, Laundrie is on the run and is wanted on bank fraud charges.
Dennis Davis, 53, a Florida engineer, confirmed he encountered Gabby Petito’s boyfriend. comes as authorities receive information that Laundrie may be traveling the world’s longest footpath.
The man waved him down on Waterville Road, which runs alongside the hiking trail. He stated that a man approached his car and asked for directions to California via back roads.
“I pulled up alongside of the vehicle,” Davis told Fox News. “I rolled my window down and I started talking with the gentleman. I could tell right away that something wasn’t right with him.”
Davis said he told the man to take Interstate 40, which would get him to California. On the other hand, the man refused and stated that he preferred to take the back roads.
He also told Fox News that he thought the man was on drugs at first but later realized he was “mentally shot,” and rambled about a fight with his girlfriend.
“He said ‘Man, I’m lost.’ I said ‘What are you trying to find?’ and 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.
“He was worried and not making sense,” he added.
After that, Davis thought about the encounter as he resumed driving, and he began to wonder if it was Laundrie. He did not recognize the man as the fugitive until he pulled over and checked his phone for images of the outlaw.
“So I got to the next spot where I was going to park and I pulled open my phone and I started looking through pictures. And the thing when I was talking to him which really stood out to me was: He had a very full but short, very thick, dark, black beard and mustache. And so when I parked my car and I pulled up the picture of him on the internet…and there was that beard and mustache,” Davis said.
Davis called the FBI three times, and Tennessee and North Carolina police to report the sighting and the man’s truck thought to be a white Ford F-150. However, his phone calls went unanswered.
“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,” he said.
“Law enforcement is probably getting millions of leads on this guy, but I am not some goofball out there doing drugs in the middle of the night, I am a highly educated professional.
“And I know that was the guy. There is no doubt about it.”
Davis noted he had yet to receive a call from the police or the FBI as of Sunday morning.
The Appalachian Trail is “the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, ranging from Maine to Georgia,” per the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It stretches over 2,193 miles and crosses 14 states. The Appalachian Trail is 96.4 miles long and reaches elevations of up to 5,498 feet in North Carolina alone.
Laundrie and Petito are said to have hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail. Petito posted an Instagram photo with a geotag for the Appalachian Trail in Georgia in March.
Rose Davis, a woman who claims to have been one of Petito’s closest friends, told PEOPLE that Laundrie “lived in the Appalachians by himself for months.”