Is Brian Laundrie in Tennessee? Bounty hunters join search after sighting near Pigeon River

After a possible sighting of Brian Laundrie, experts say there are plenty of things in the Appalachian Trail to help a seasoned outdoorsman survive

                            Is Brian Laundrie in Tennessee? Bounty hunters join search after sighting near Pigeon River
Bounty hunters in Tennessee have joined the search for Brian Laundrie after a possible sighting. (Moab City Police, Twitter/@clursheffalump)

NASHVILLE, TN - Bounty hunters in Tennessee have joined the search for Brian Laundrie after campers near the Appalachian Trail in Cocke County thought they spotted the missing fiance of tragic Long Island vlogger Gabby Petito.

Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, had embarked on a cross-country trip back in July and on September 1, he returned home without her in the van they had traveled in together during the trip. Laundrie has reportedly not been seen since September 14 and was confirmed 'missing' on September 17. Petito's remains were discovered in a Wyoming park by the authorities on September 19. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed the YouTuber's death was a homicide but the immediate cause of death is still unclear as police await the final autopsy results.


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“They had seen a white Camry that fits the description of his grandfather’s vehicle,” Xander McDouall, co-owner of Predator Hunter Nation, told WSMV. Tennessee bounty hunters McDouall and Ernie Shell joined the search for Laundrie Wednesday night, September 29.  “I honestly believe Brian Laundrie’s apprehension will be within the next day or so,” said Shell, also a co-owner of Predator Hunter Nation.

While investigators haven't confirmed Laundrie was actually spotted in Tennessee, McDouall said there are plenty of things in that part of the state to help a seasoned outdoorsman survive, including water and other resources. “This guy is supposed to be somewhat of a survivalist, so I would imagine being in the Appalachian Mountains he could find food in the forest,” McDouall said. “The thing about that area is you can get to hot springs from there on back roads. You can get to other areas of North Carolina there.”


Social media was inundated with speculation about Laundrie's apparent sighting in Tennessee.

"Finally a search party is in eastern Tennessee in the vicinity of Clingmans Dome @ nearly 7000ft above sea level the nights are damn cold this TIME of year If Brian is in the area he will certainly need campfires @ night if he isn't sleeping in the trees," one Twitter user wrote.

"Tennessee has almost TEN THOUSAND caves, is on the AT, and would be a great place for #BrianLaundrie to hide out. Eastern Tennessee, western NC, is where I'd be on the run," a comment read.

"Any legitimacy to the sighting of Brian Laundrie near Pigeon River in TN last night? It’s 2.5 hr drive from Boone, where other sightings of him have been reported," another added.  

"Did you know if #BrianLaundrie started walking the day he went missing in Florida, only walked at night, and stayed off most major roads: He’d just be getting to Pigeon River (the most recent sighting) pretty much the same time he was spotted? Google map it!" another chimed in.





Both McDouall and Shell said their team would assist Duane 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' Chapman on his independent pursuit of Laundrie to find out if he's in or nearby Tenessee. “And then what we’ll end up doing is we’ll make a big circle and that’s pretty much what Dog does, he does the outside work. It’s just like he puts the puzzle together from the edge pieces,” Shell said. “He keeps swimming around in circles like a shark would do and then close in on the fugitive.”



Investigators began searching for Laundrie at a Florida reserve on September 18 but with no luck thus far. Chapman is now scouring parts of the Appalachian Trail based on recent sightings. A video from August 12 showed Petito and Laundrie arguing with each other near Arches National Park in Utah. Multiple law enforcement agencies including the FBI are on a nationwide manhunt for Laundrie, with considerable help from local authorities and concerned civilians.

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