Hiker claims he saw Brian Laundrie on the Appalachian Trail on Tennessee border near North Carolina
Florida engineer Dennis Davis says that he contacted the local police on Saturday after the encounter occurred
NORTH PORT, Fla. – Brian Laundrie stole Gabby Petito’s credit card and used it to travel home, where he returned in the beginning of September, “and then ran from the police,” Petito’s family spokesperson said during an interview on Tuesday.
Petito’s family members and the family’s attorney and spokesperson, Richard Stafford, sat down for a 30-minute interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on his self-named show. It was the parents’ first interview together since officials announced on Sept. 21 that 22-year-old Petito had died of a homicide. The cause of her death has not yet been announced.
Police had previously named Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, as a person of interest in connection with what was then her disappearance. On Sept. 23, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie, accusing him of bank card fraud.
But speaking to what he saw as Laundrie’s “state of mind” as portrayed by Laundrie’s actions, Stafford described how Laundrie “stole her credit card.”
“He used her credit card to get home and then ran from the police,” Stafford continued. “That’s going to show a lot what he was thinking back then.”
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino declined to comment.
Stafford later added: “I don’t know what story he’s going to try to tell, but it’s not going to make any sense when you put it together with his actions from that moment forward – that he’s running, that he’s hiding, that he’s trying to deceive everybody around him.”
The couple left for a cross-country journey in mid-June in a converted white Ford Transit van with the plan to visit national parks along the way. They had begun dating years earlier after meeting at their local Long Island, New York, high school and had moved to North Port, Florida, to live with Laundrie’s parents.
Laundrie, who is now a fugitive, returned to the North Port home in the couple’s van without Petito. He has not been seen since Sept. 14 and remained on the run as of Tuesday afternoon.
Petito was not reported missing until Sept. 11, when her mother notified police in Suffolk County, New York. Authorities later seized the van from the Laundries’ home.
Her body turned up near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue found in his initial determination that Petito was the victim of a homicide, the FBI’s Denver Field Office announced on Sept. 21.
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