Dog the Bounty Hunter says he’s turned over evidence found at a makeshift Florida campsite to the FBI as he continues his hunt for Brian Laundrie.
The reality television star joined the manhunt for the boyfriend of the late Gabby Petito on September 25th – weeks after she was reported missing and Laundrie returned from their cross-country roadtrip by himself on September 1.
Two days after Brian was reported missing on September 17, Petito’s remains were discovered in Teton County, Wyoming.
Ever since, Brian has been named as a ‘person of interest’ in the case.
The nationwide manhunt has seen Dog the Bounty Hunter, whose real name is Duane Chapman, become a popular figure in the search after he set up his own private tip line, which he says has had more than ‘2,000 calls with 20 percent leads.’
On Monday morning, Chapman told Fox & Friends that his team has handed materials he discovered at Fort Soto Park over to the FBI in the hope that DNA testing confirms Laundrie’s presence.
‘Friday, we found a makeshift, a very primitive camp that had some promising things around it so we’ve gathered up all those things with gloves and baggies and turned them over yesterday to the FBI,’ Chapman said.
‘We’ve got tips from here to Tennessee and beyond,’ he said regarding the search for Brian Laundrie. ‘So we are going over those tips today.’
According to Fox News, Dog the Bounty Hunter has turned over all the evidence he collected at Fort Soto Park to authorities in hopes they can test it to prove that Brian Laundrie’s DNA was on the times
Brian Laundrie, 23, who was reported missing last week, remains a person of interest in the disappearance and death of fiancée Gabby Petito
After repeatedly saying that he ‘doesn’t’ coordinate with cops’, Chapman contracted a private search-and-rescue K-9 team to get his search underway on an island called Egmont Key, which is off the coast of St Petersburg, Florida.
The search has been centered around Florida’s Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County, where the Laundrie’s went camping with Brian between September 6-8 and were seen leaving without him.
Chapman is now interested to work with law enforcement and has confirmed that an off-duty officer has joined his team the past few days.
‘The team is now assessing evidence and evaluating next steps,’ the statement states.
He also confirmed that former Navy SEALS and Marines are helping his search.
The latest update come as Chapman has increased the reward for any information leading to Laundrie’s arrest.
His team also discovered a used campsite and a discarded can of Monster soda last Wednesday.
Dog the Bounty Hunter told Fox News that he turned over evidence from makeshift campsite to the FBI and local authorities
Police and coast guard boats are spotted trawling the waters around Fort de Soto Park in Florida, near St. Petersburg, where Brian Laundrie went camping with his parents after returning home from a cross country road trip without girlfriend Gabby Petito
A map shows the Fort de Soto Park campsite’s location, the Laundrie family home and the Carlton Reserve where authorities have focused their search and Laundrie’s parents say he was headed
The team confirmed to Dailymail.com on Friday that $10,000 has been added to the reward money, which was set at $170,000 before the increase.
Most of the funds were donated by private individuals supporting Gabby Petito’s family.
Meanwhile, the investigation was thrown a curveball by an alleged sighting of Brian in North Carolina on Saturday.
A hiker in the Appalachian Trail said ‘there is no doubt in [his] mind’ that he had a nighttime encounter with Brian Laundrie on Saturday morning after Lisa Chapman sent him an audio recording of Laundrie’s voice and he recognized the voice as that of the man who asked him for help.
Dennis Davis said he encountered Petito’s boyfriend on a deserted road close to the trail close to the Tennessee border – 700 miles away from where the 23-year-old was last seen near his home in North Port, Florida.
Davis, 53, who is an engineer from Florida, says he spoke to a man who waved down his car on Waterville Road, near the Appalachian Trail and close to the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Dennis Davis, pictured, says he saw Brian Laundrie on a deserted trail along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina on Saturday
A hiker near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina claims he had a nighttime encounter with Brian Laundrie on Saturday morning, weeks after the fugitive boyfriend of slain Gabby Petito was last seen in Florida
Gabrielle Petito, 22, from her Instagram page, is seen with boyfriend Brian Laundrie, now the sole person of interest in her murder
He says the man pulled up alongside Davis and made a bizarre request for help as he asked for directions in order to drive west to California using only back roads.
Davis, a dad-of-four, suggested he simply take Interstate 40 which runs east to west across the country from North Carolina all the way to California.
‘There is no doubt in my mind I spoke to Brian Laundrie — none whatsoever,’ Davis told the New York Post.
‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’s daughter sent me an audio file of Brian’s voice and the voice was the same I heard.’
Davis was hiking the Appalachian Trail himself and noted the man he believed to be Laundrie acted nervously.
‘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.”
‘I said ‘Well, I-40 is right there and you could take it west to California’ and he said, ‘I’m just going to take this road into California’.
‘He was worried and not making sense,’ Davis added.
He did not immediately recognize him as Laundrie but is certain it was him.
Despite lighting being poor because of the night, he believes there was enough lighting from the car’s headlights to make a positive identification.
Davis told Laundrie his best way to head to California would be to take Interstate 40 which runs for more than 2,500 miles from North Carolina
Petito and Laundrie had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11
The man he believed to be Laundrie was driving a light-colored pickup and was wearing a bandana on his head.
It wasn’t until later, with Davis having looked up photos of the man on his cellphone that he realized whom he had just spoken with.
Davis claims to have made several calls to the FBI and to 911 in the hours after the encounter but frustratingly nobody has yet called him back.
‘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.
‘We have this lead but no one’s doing anything, not even a phone call.
‘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,’ Davis said.
Chapman also recently received a tip that framed Brian’s sister Cassie in Fort De Soto Park, on September 6, contradicting her revelation in which she said she had not been in contact with her brother since he returned home from his trip with Petito.
Laundrie’s whereabouts are unknown since September 14, when his parents said he left the family home in North Port, Florida. The Laundries added that their son told them that he was heading to a nearby nature reserve and only had his backpack.
Timeline of missing Gabby Petito’s case
- July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip
- August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple
- Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie
- Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nicole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park
- Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes
- Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune, of Red White & Bethune, around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground
- Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm; Schmidt says she is not entertaining this claim and believes it possibly factual
- Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito: ‘No service in Yosemite’
- Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito
- Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida
- Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day
- Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito
- Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Also on this day, Laundrie allegedly left his parents’ home for a hike
- Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case
- Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown
- Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie
- Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon
- Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation
- Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carton Reserve
- Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13
- Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando
- Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie
- Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children
- Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left
- Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14; Dog the Bounty Hunter searches the area near Fort De Soto finding a recently drunk can of Monster Energy at a makeshift campsite deep in the woods
- Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home
- Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did