North Carolina authorities have been investigating a flurry of calls suggesting that Brian Laundrie is hiding out on the Appalachian Trail, according to local reports.
It has also been a focus for the private search team led by Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman, whose daughter Lyssa Chapman tweeted a plea for “experienced HIKING/SURVIVALIST near the Appalachian Hiking trail in North Carolina.”
“If you have hunters in your family, near the AT in NC. Tell them to Check your game cameras!!!!” she tweeted Sunday, also asking locals to widely spread Laundrie’s image.
The Appalachians is understood to be an area familiar to Laundrie, who was previously reported to have once lived there “by himself for months.”
While it was not clear how many of the official tips claimed to be actual sightings, Watauga County deputies pulled over a car to investigate a possible lead that led to nothing, the local outlet said.
Watauga officers also have a detective monitoring a mass of online posts claiming that people are “seeing Brian Laundrie in Boone, NC,” officials told the Watauga Democrat.
“We have been monitoring social media for alleged sightings or information of Brian Laundrie being in this area,” Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman confirmed to the local paper.
“But nothing has been verified,” he insisted.
Some of the info has been based on rumors that Laundrie — who went missing more than 2 weeks ago, days before Petito’s body was found — may be familiar with the Appalachian Trail, the sheriff said.
Some of it has been strong enough to pass along to other local, state and federal law enforcement officers, the sheriff said.
“We actually had a conversation with the FBI this morning,” Hagaman told WSOC on Wednesday. “If there’s something legitimate, we’ll check it out. And if there’s something more to it, then the FBI will be contacted — but not on every call,” he said.
Laundrie had returned from a cross-country trip with Petito, 22, on Sept. 1 – without her. Petito was offcially reported missing Sept. 11 and later found dead in Wyoming.
There is an active warrant for his arrest on fraud charges for using someone’s bank card around the time Petito disappeared.