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A woman claimed in a series of viral TikTok videos that she and her boyfriend picked up Brian Laundrie late last month as he was hitchhiking alone in the same park where authorities would later discover Gabby Petito’s suspected remains.
Miranda Baker recounted what she referred to as a “weird” interaction with a man she believed to be Laundrie after she said he approached the couple near Colter Bay in the Grand Teton National Park and asked for a ride to “Jackson” at around 5:44 p.m. on Aug. 29 — four days after Petito's last confirmed contact with her family — offering to pay the couple $200.
Baker said she found the offer “kind of weird” since it was such a short trip.
“We were going to Jackson that night, so you know, I said, ‘hop in,’” she recalled in the first of several TikTok videos. “He hopped in the back of my Jeep. We then, you know, proceeded to make small talk.”
According to Baker, the man told the couple he had been hiking alone for days along the Snake River while his fiancée—whom he never referred to by name—was back at their van working on their social media page.
“He had told us that him and Gabby were not camping on a regulated campsite through the National Park, that they were camping basically in the middle of nowhere along Snake River. This is key information,” she said in a subsequent follow-up video, also calling it later a “dispersed camp site.”
Although Baker said he seemed “very nice” and “calm” during the trip, there were several things that struck her as odd during the ride.
The man claimed he had been hiking for days on his own, with only a tarp to sleep on.
“If you’re going camping for days on end, you’d want food and a tent and he had none of that,” she said, adding that “he looked clean and didn’t smell bad.”
Baker said he also “freaked out” during the drive when she mentioned the couple was headed to “Jackson Hole” and asked to get out “right now.” The couple pulled over at the Jackson Lake Dam turnout to let Laundrie out at 6:09 p.m. that night. He told the couple he planned to go to a nearby crowded parking lot to get another ride.
“Why he became like agitated, I don’t know,” she said in another video. “He was just very set on getting out of the car, which is why we pulled out by the dam and that’s why he got out.”
Baker was able to determine the exact timing of the exchange because of text messages she shared in the video that she had sent to her mom—who had not been happy that her daughter had picked up a hitchhiker.
Baker said she provided the information about the “weird situation” to the FBI and detectives in the hopes that it could help find Petito, who disappeared in late August while on a cross-country trip with Laundrie.
Josh Taylor, spokesman for the North Port Police Department in Florida told Fox News that "we have spoken with her and are potentially utilizing her info into our timeline.
Authorities announced on Sunday they discovered human remains “consistent” with Petito earlier that day in the national park, but they are still working to positively identify the body, according to a statement from the FBI.
The body was found near the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, which remains closed as authorities continue to gather information in the area.
It’s not clear whether the information Baker provided in the videos helped lead to the body. Oxygen.com reached out to the FBI and North Port Police, but did not receive an immediate response.
Although she said Laundrie told her he had been coming from an area north of Colter Bay, according to a map of the park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest is located to the east of the pick-up location.
Authorities are asking for information from anyone who may have come in contact with the couple at the remote camping site between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30.
Baker said the person she encountered—who she described as wearing long-sleeves, pants, hiking boots and had facial “scruff”—had been hitchhiking and appeared to have no vehicle or phone at the time.
Police said Laundrie later returned to Florida on Sept. 1 driving the couple’s white Ford Transit van, without Petito.
Her mother reported her missing days later on Sept. 11 after she hadn’t spoken to her daughter on the phone since Aug. 25. A couple of weeks before that, on Aug. 12, Laundrie and Petito were seen in Moab, Utah, in a heated altercation, which prompted a police response. Body camera footage of the subsequent police encounter showed a visibly upset Petito and Laundrie talking to officers separately about the incident. Authorities separated the couple of the night, but no arrests were made, nor charges filed.
Laundrie, the last known person to see Petito alive, has been named a person of interest in her disappearance, but authorities have not been able to locate him. His family told investigators they last saw the 23-year-old on Tuesday when he left to go on a hike in the Carlton Reserve area, according to a statement from North Port Police.
Law enforcement searched the areas for days but announced on Monday they had suspended the search after they had “exhausted all avenues of searching the grounds there,” local station WTVT reports.
The FBI was seen Monday morning executing a search warrant at the Laundrie family’s home in North Port, after escorting Laundrie’s parents to a van waiting nearby.
"The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media" will air on Oxygen on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c. It's also available to stream on Peacock now.
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