What to Know
- The FBI's prime person of interest in Gabby Petito's disappearance, her fiancé Brian Laundrie, has now been missing for more than three weeks
- The 23-year-old vanished after allegedly telling his family he was going for a hike in a Florida nature preserve on Sept. 14; his parents have called any rumors they helped him flee "just wrong"
- Petito's body was found in a remote area of a Wyoming park the couple visited last month; her death has been ruled a homicide, though exactly how she died is a question pending additional forensic study
Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman has handed authorities evidence he believes may be linked to the disappearance of Gabby Petito's fiancé Brian Laundrie, who is the FBI's prime person of interest in her case and who went off the grid himself more than three weeks ago, a spokesperson said Tuesday.
Chapman made headlines for launching his own searches for Laundrie last month as investigators' leads appeared to fizzle out amid an all-out manhunt for the 23-year-old man from North Port, Florida. The evidence he turned over includes items found on one of the islanders near Fort De Soto Park, the Florida campgrounds where the Laundrie family attorney said Brian and his parents went for an overnight trip from Sept. 6-7. The FBI has also obtained surveillance video of that area.
Chapman's spokesperson didn't specify the nature of the items that were shared with authorities, but said in a statement of Chapman, "It is his hope that DNA can be assessed to prove Laundries' presence. Dog has been attempting to authenticate a lot of leads, including the Appalachian Trail trip."
Calls have flooded law enforcement offices from Canada to Alabama, Montana and most recently North Carolina as the public aims to help law enforcement solve the mystery of what happened to Laundrie since his fiance's remains were recovered.
One of those 911 calls was released late Monday. It was made by a man who claimed he saw Laundrie driving a newer model white truck, and that the two spoke. The caller said that the man he believed to be Laundrie drove up and was waving his arm out of his window, seemingly to ask the man to slow down and talk.
The caller said the man in the truck "was talking wild, he said that his girlfriend loved him and that he had to go out to California to see her." He asked how to get to California before taking off. The caller said he wasn't sure what Laundrie looked like, but after looking at a photo, said he was "99 percent sure that was him."
The local North Carolina sheriff's office says it got multiple calls like that one this past weekend. All of them reported possible Laundrie sightings along parts of the Appalachian Trail, according to media reports. None of them panned out.
"We will continue to respond and fully investigate all calls for service related to the nationwide search for Mr. Laundrie within our jurisdiction," the Haywood County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post.
There have been no confirmed sightings of Laundrie since he disappeared on Sept. 14, at least as far as the FBI is publicly aware.
Scores of law enforcement hours, federal, local and state, have been spent searching the unforgivable terrain of the Carlton Preserve, which Laundrie's parents said he told them he was going to visit just before he went missing.
Again, there have been no signs of Laundrie's visit, leading a growing number of people captivated by Petito and Laundrie's story to wonder if the young man is still alive. And if he is, where could he be now?
Where Is Brian Laundrie?
More coverage on the Gabby Petito case that captivated the nation
It took a little more than a week for investigators to find the remains of Petito in a Wyoming park she and Laundrie had visited before he returned to Florida alone in the white van the couple had taken on a cross-country road trip.
The young woman's death has been ruled a homicide, meaning she was killed by another person, but how exactly she died remains a question pending further study.
It could take weeks before final autopsy results are issued -- and possibly longer before the public is permitted to be aware of the findings.
Laundrie does have an outstanding federal arrest warrant out for him -- one that charges him with a single count of unauthorized debit card usage but one that would allow law enforcement to hold him for a period of time if they can find him.
The FBI continues to solicit tips by phone and online regarding the potential whereabouts of Laundrie or any other details on the couple.