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Norma Jean Jalovec told Fox News on Thursday that she picked up Laundrie on the evening of Aug. 29 and drove him to the Spread Creek dispersed camping area in Grand Teton National Park, where the 22-year-old travel blogger’s remains were found on Sunday.
Jalovec said she realized that it was Laundrie, 23, after watching Miranda Baker’s viral TikTok videos. In those videos, Baker recalled how a man resembling Laundrie asked her and her boyfriend for a ride to Jackson at around 5:44 pm on Aug. 29. She said that Laundrie was behaving strangely and that he asked to be let out at a Jackson Lake Dam turnout at 6:09 that evening. Baker said Laundrie expressed that he planned to go to a nearby crowded parking lot to get another ride.
Jalovec claims that she picked up Laundrie shortly after, around 6:30 or 6:40 pm. She told Fox News that she was visiting a Roman Catholic church called Chapel of the Sacred Heart in Grand Teton National Park that day for a service when she saw Laundrie walking the road with his thumb out. The church is located about 1.2 miles from where Baker says she let Laundrie out of her vehicle.
“Everything's legitimate," Jalovec told Fox News. "Everything's corroborated. I already talked to the FBI."
Like with Baker, Jalovec recalls making small talk with Laundrie during the drive. She said he told her that he had a fiancée. She said he also offered her money, which she refused. Baker said Laundrie nevertheless gave her and her boyfriend $200 for the ride.
Jalovec told the outlet that Laundrie asked her to drop him off at the gate of the campground. Jalovec offered to drive him inside, and noted that when she made this offer, Laundrie attempted to get out of the moving car.
"I can't explain why I was there," Jalovec, who is a seasonal Wyoming resident that splits time in Florida, told Fox News. "It was something I don't typically do. I don't pick up hitchhikers in Florida. I've gotten so much s--- from family and friends for picking up a hitchhiker."
The FBI is still trying to find Laundrie, who was reported missing on Sept. 17 after his family claims he went for a hike two days prior in Florida then never returned. On Wednesday, a federal arrest warrant for Laundrie was issued on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him for allegedly using a debit card that was not authorized for his use following Petito’s death.
Laundrie had returned to his parents' home in Florida in Petito’s van on Sept. 1 without her; Petito's family, who live in New York, reported her missing 10 days later.
Autopsy results confirmed on Tuesday that Petito’s manner of death was a homicide. The exact cause of death is pending final autopsy results.
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