Norma Jean Jalovec didn’t think anything of Brian Laundrie when she picked him up in late August.
Jalovec gave the hitchhiking Laundrie a ride back to Wyoming’s Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area where he was staying. There was ”nothing extraordinary about him,” she told People magazine.
But his demeanor changed when they approached the campground, which was several miles away from his van. Nightfall was approaching. It made sense, she thought, to give him a ride down the road.
“He got agitated when I said, ‘Do you want me to take you past the gate, down the road?” she asked, per People magazine.
“He was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. This is fine,’” she said. “He said, ‘Just let me out here. You can let me out here.’”
When they slowed to a stop, “he literally was getting out of the passenger seat,” she said.
That all happened on Aug. 29, which was two days after his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, was last seen. On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned home to North Port, Florida, without Petito, who had been with him on a cross-country road trip.
Laundrie hired a lawyer when he returned home and then invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not speak with police. Soon after, Laundrie’s parents said that their son had left town and they didn’t know where he went.
The search for Laundrie is still ongoing, as he is a person of interest in the Petito case. Last week, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Laundrie because of the “use of unauthorized access device” after the death of Petito, which included a debit card.
The search for Laundrie has mostly been isolated to the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre park, in Sarasota County, Florida. But that might change this week as the FBI takes the lead of the investigation and changes the focus of the search.
“I don’t think you’re going to see those large scale types of efforts this week,” North Port police department spokesman Joshua Taylor told the Deseret News.