Dennis Davis, the hiker who claimed he saw Brian Laundrie on Saturday morning near the Appalachian Trail, made comments to police that were consistent with what he told Fox News Digital on Saturday, according to a 911 call.
“He was talking wild. He said that his girlfriend loved him and he had to go out to California to see her, and he was asking me how to get to California,” Davis can he heard telling a 911 operator in the audio. He added later that he was “99.99% sure that was him.”
Dannis Davis (Fox News)
Davis later said on Saturday afternoon that he was 100% sure he encountered Laundrie on Waterville Road.
“We have received a number of calls regarding the sighting of Brian Laundrie over the past several days, each one being investigated thoroughly and areas of concern searched, but all to no avail,” Haywood, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Christina Esmay told Fox News in a Sunday statement. “We will continue to respond and fully investigate all calls for service related to the nationwide search for Mr. Laundrie within our jurisdiction.”
Davis on Friday evening accidentally passed a parking lot near the trail and was going to make a U-turn on Waterville Road when “a vehicle approached” from behind him and flashed its headlights as if signaling to Davis that he could complete his U-turn, he said on Saturday.
After completing his U-turn, he was driving back in the direction of the pickup truck when the man driving it stuck his hand out of the vehicle.
Waterville Road in Hartford, Tenn. (Google Maps)
“I pulled up alongside of the vehicle,” Davis explained. “…I rolled my window down and I started talking with the gentleman. I could tell right away that something wasn’t right with him.”
The driver told Davis that he was lost and was trying to get to California after getting in a fight with his girlfriend before he took off again down Waterville Road. It didn’t at first register that the driver may have been Laundrie, but after the encounter, Davis looked up photos of the fugitive wanted on debit card fraud charges, and he then felt convinced enough to call in the sighting to FBI twice, as well as 911 operators in Tennessee and North Carolina later on.
The Haywood County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office said on their dispatch that they received a call from Davis after 2 a.m. Saturday near the Waterville exit, where he had cell service again, to look at more photos of Laundrie. He related the story to police, and the sheriff’s office dispatched two to three deputies to the area. Deputies came across three idle vehicles, which they ran, but all came up inconsequential and were likely hikers’ vehicles.
The sheriff’s office, which said it has received about 10 more sightings and calls between Saturday and Sunday, sent a team to mile marker seven near the Waterville exit. Tips have picked up within the last few days but none have been as specific as Davis’. One woman called in a possibly Laundrie sighting, saying she saw a man with skinny legs near an overpass.
Brian Laundrie (Moab Police Department)
People have reported many potential Laundrie sightings across the country as his whereabouts remain unknown in the high-profile case. People have claimed to have seen the 23-year-old avid hiker in Watauga County, , according to multiple reports. Users in a private Facebook page, Appalachian Classifieds, described how people were “reporting seeing Brian Laundrie in Boone, NC,” according to the .
Laundrie and Petito were traveling across the country in a Ford Transit van over the summer before Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1 in the van without Petito. Petito’s parents reported her missing 10 days later on Sept. 11. Laundrie’s parents reported Laundrie missing on Sept. 17 but claim the last time they saw him was on Sept. 14.
After Petito’s missing person report was filed on Sept. 11, Laundrie would not cooperate with the police investigation, officials said. The Laundries’ attorney released a statement on Sept. 14, in which he announced he had advised his clients to remain “in the background.” The family revealed three days later that they had not seen him since Sept. 14.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones, Michael Ruiz and Kathleen Reushcle contributed to this report.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for FOX Business and Fox News. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @audpants.