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Second woman in Wyoming says she picked up Brian Laundrie hitchhiking

Posted at 6:30 AM, Sep 24, 2021

A second woman has come forward to say she gave a hitchhiking Brian Laundrie a ride in Grand Teton National Park on Aug. 29, two days after Gabby Petito was last seen alive.

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Norma Jean Jalovec, a seasonal Wyoming resident from Florida, told Fox News on Thursday that after seeing Miranda Baker's TikTok video, she realized she had also picked up Laundrie on Aug. 29 and dropped him off around 6:30 or 6:40 MT at the Spread Creek dispersed camping area, where Petito's remains were discovered weeks later.

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Jalovec told Fox News she spontaneously decided to visit a Roman Catholic church called Chapel of the Sacred Heart in Grand Teton National Park that Sunday for its 5 p.m. (MT) service. The church is about 1.2 miles from Jackson Lake Dam, where Baker said she dropped Laundrie off.

Jalovec said she picked him up around 6:15 or 6:20 on Aug. 29 past the dam near Pacific Creek Landing. He was walking backward and holding out his thumb, like so many do in that area of the national park, she told Fox News.

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"I picked him up…" Jelovec said. "… Something just said, 'Hey, ask him where he’s going.'"

Laundrie, who sat in the passenger seat of Jalovec's 4Runner, asked if she was going to Jackson. When she told him "no" because she lives in the opposite direction, he asked her if she'd drop him off at the Spread Creek dispersed camping area, which she agreed to, Jalovec said.

Spread Creek is about a 20-minute drive from the dam.

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Grand Teton National Park in Moose, Wyo.

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"Everything's legitimate. Everything's corroborated. I already talked to the FBI," Jalovec said, adding that she didn't realize she had given a ride to Laundrie until after she saw Baker's TikTok video and emphasized the important role social media has played in helping to solve this case.

Jalovec described having small talk with Laundrie during the drive. He told her that he spent time hiking near Snake River and that he had a fiancée. He told her he had seen elk and moose but no bison, and when he asked her if she needed any gas money, she said "no."

On the ride to Spread Creek, Jalovec said, she took a sharp right turn, causing a Bible on her dashboard to fall onto Laundrie's lap. He picked up the book and put it back on the dashboard.

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The 23-year-old asked Jalovec to drop him off at the gate of the remote campground, which has a single dirt road that extends miles to various camping sites in the area; at 6:30 p.m. MT. Jalovec responded saying she could drive him inside, which is when he tried to "get out of the moving car," she said.

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Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie's last known location together was Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

"I can't explain why I was there," Jalovec said of her decision to go to the church in Grand Teton that day and pick up a hitchhiker. "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."

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Jalovec said she joked with Laundrie about wanting to impress his fiancée by hiking into the campground rather than hitching a ride, but he responded only by insisting that he be let out of the vehicle.

Spread Creek dispersed campgrounds in Bridger-Teton National Forest

Petito, the deceased 22-year-old, and Laundrie were traveling together from New York to Oregon in a white 2012 Ford Transit van that they converted into a camper. Teton County coroner Brent Blue ruled her death a homicide on Tuesday.

Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11, weeks after she last sent her mother a text message on Aug. 27, which is when blogger Jenn Bethune and her husband spotted Petito's van in the dispersed camping area.

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Laundrie returned home to North Port, Florida, where the couple lived with Laundrie’s parents, 10 days earlier on Sept. 1 with no sign of his fiancée. Authorities recovered the van on Sept. 11, and began a forensic examination of the vehicle on Sept. 14.

The. FBI on Thursday announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie.

The warrant alleges Laundrie committed debit card fraud between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.