A man on a road trip in Montana in late August believes he saw Brian Laundrie the day before Laundrie’s girlfriend Gabby Petito was last seen alive.
Hunter Mannies, 44, told the New York Post that he was traveling in West Yellowstone on August 26 when he saw a man resembling Laundrie at a bar called Bullwinkle’s Saloon. The man was by himself, Mannies said, but joined a conversation between fellow customers — if only to express his disdain.
Mannies, who is from Louisiana, was at the bar with a friend who is a doctor. The pair got into a conversation with another woman, also a physician, and her partner.
“The convo got into hunting and guns and politics,” Mannies said, and noticed that Laundrie, who was the only other person sitting at the bar, was listening in.
“The guy just looked mad and then at some lull in the conversation, he said, ‘Stupid southerners and f—ing Republicans.’”
Mannies’ friend reportedly responded: “Stupid southerners? She and I both have ‘Dr.’ in front of our names. Do you?”
Mannies said he then tried to engage the man, asking where he was from. When the man said he was from New York, Maddies said, “Okay, New York’ and he said, ‘I have a name, it’s Brian.”
Mannies continued: “I said, ‘Let me ask you this, New York. What did you expect to find in a small mountain town in the middle of nowhere Montana? Did you expect to find a bunch of Democrats?”
It is unclear from the report if the man Mannies believes was Laundrie responded. Mannies told the newspaper that the foursome returned to the conversation and that “We felt watched,”
“He wasn’t talking to the bartenders. He was there alone. It just stood out as odd,” Mannies told the New York Post.
“He was just mad at the world it seemed like.”
After seeing the news reports about Petito’s disappearance, Mannies’ friend reportedly called him and said Laundrie looked just like the man they had seen at the bar. Mannies reviewed the police body cam footage from an August 12 incident between Petito and Laundrie, and agreed it was the same person.
“Just the way he carried himself and I heard his voice, it was him,” Mannies said.
Mannies told the newspaper that he contacted authorities and spoke to the FBI for 45 minutes about his encounter.
A manager at the Bullwinkle Saloon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the New York Post.
Laundrie remains at large over a week after Petito was found dead in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Authorities are continuing to search for Laundrie in Florida, where he lives with his parents, who said they last saw him on September 14.
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