Man claims he saw Brian Laundrie alone and angry with Montana bar days before he returned home
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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the search for Brian Laundrie continues as part of the Gabby Petito investigation, 8 On Your Side hears a man who believes he saw Laundrie at a Montana bar in the days leading up to the 23 years- The old man returned home alone after the trip across the country he and his fiance had made.
According to attorney Steve Bertolino, Brian Laundrie briefly returned from Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 17. He landed in Tampa for about a week before returning west to join Petito on Aug. 23, Bertolino said.
Just three days later, on August 26, a man claims to have seen Laundrie alone and angry at a Montana bar.
The man tells 8 On Your Side that it clicked recently when police in Moab, Utah posted body camera video of an August 12 incident involving Petito and Laundrie. At this point, Hunter Mannies says he realized he had spoken with a man – who he said was Brian Laundrie – at a bar in West Yellowstone, Montana.
“I looked at the body camera footage and his body movements, the way he was behaving and his voice, I was one hundred percent sure,” Mannies said.
Mannies said the man looked angry. The incident left his friend uncomfortable.
He tells 8 On Your Side that he spoke to the FBI about it for about 40 minutes on September 16.
“They wanted to know every detail we could remember from the meeting itself. What he wore, how he acted, ”Mannies said.
“I realize this is a pretty thorough investigation and it’s just a tiny piece of a big puzzle. A puzzle that is getting bigger and bigger, ”he added.
Mannies tells 8 On Your Side that he didn’t notice the couple’s white van parked outside Bullwinkle’s Saloon.
“I mean, obviously we weren’t necessarily looking for him,” he said.
Authorities have yet to confirm whether the bar’s sighting is credible.
Less than 24 hours after this reported encounter, travel bloggers believe they captured Petito’s van on video from more than 110 miles away in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. It was August 27 – the same day Petito’s mother reported receiving a strange text from her daughter’s phone.