Caller claims to have spotted Brian Laundrie in North Carolina, but police say tip didn’t pan out

Brian Laundrie, who is facing arrest for debit card fraud and remains the sole “person of interest” as police continue their investigation into the death of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, has been on the run for more than a month now.

While much of the search for Laundrie has been centered on his home state of Florida, reports that came in as recently as Wednesday evening claimed he’d been sighted in North Carolina, Fox News reported.

A call reportedly came in to police from the Rocky Mount area of western North Carolina, prompting a dispatcher to say, “White male subject wearing a light gray T-shirt…walking toward 301…advised that he looked like Brian Laundrie.”

“That was him”

Local police investigated the reported sighting, but concluded that it had been a false alarm.

“There was a citizen passerby that spotted an individual that matched the description of Brian Laundrie,” Cpl. Ricky Jackson told Fox. “Officers went to the area, located the individual that they were referring to, and we can positively identify that individual was not Brian Laundrie.”

It’s just the latest of many reports of individuals saying they’d spotted Laundrie in the mountains of western North Carolina. NBC News reported more than a week ago that there had already been at least a dozen such reports in that area by that time.

One man even told a Haywood County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher that he was “99.99 percent” positive that he had spoken directly with Laundrie, according to the 911 call audio that featured the man sharing details of his encounter.

“He was talking wild. He said that his girlfriend left him and he had to go out to California to see her,” the man told the dispatcher, according to NBC. “He was acting funny. And I wasn’t sure what he looked like. And then…I went and parked and pulled up the photographs of him. And I’m 99.99 percent sure that was him.”

“He’s out there”

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that it has “thoroughly” checked out each reported sighting, “but all to no avail.”

In addition to the dozen or more reported sightings in North Carolina, NBC notes that Laundrie had also allegedly been spotted in other locales as far-flung as Alabama, Montana, and even Canada. Some have suggested he could be hiding along the Appalachian Trail, a hiking path that runs for nearly 2,200 miles through 14 states and stretches from Georgia to Maine.

That possibility seems to stem from an interview by People magazine with Petito’s best friend, Rose Davis, who said of Laundrie, “He is out in the wilderness, I promise you.”

“He’s out there. He is,” she insisted. “If he’s alive, he’s out there, camping out… He lived in the Appalachians by himself for months.” Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.

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