Norma Jean Jalovec, who lives in Wyoming seasonally, told Fox News that she had picked up Laundrie, 23, on August 29 and claims the person of interest in the homicide case off at Spread Creek dispersed camping area around 6:30 p.m. or 6:40 p.m. MT. It is the same location where Petito’s remains were found on September 19.
Laundrie’s ride with Jalovec came just hours after the first woman, Miranda Baker, allegedly provided him a ride in the same area.
In now-viral videos shared on TikTok on September 17, Baker claims she and her boyfriend picked Laundrie up at 5:45 p.m. MT at Grand Teton National Park on August 29, four days after the 22-year-old’s last Instagram post and four days after the Florida student called her family to inform them she was in the park. The hitchhiker, who she believes was Laundrie, initially offered her “$200” for the ride but got into her vehicle for free.
The TikToker said that at around 6:09 p.m. after she mentioned “Jackson Hole,” things “got weird.”
“He became agitated,” she said in one of the videos. “He seemed like he needed to get out, he was kind of antsy.”
Baker let the hitchhiker out near Jackson Dam. He then crossed the street and continued to hitchhike. Baker said she had spoken with the FBI about the encounter.
Jalovec impulsively chose to attend a 5:00 p.m. service at a Roman Catholic church called Chapel of the Sacred Heart on Sunday. The church is 1.2 miles from Jackson Lake Dam, where Baker allegedly left Laundrie.
Jalovec said that many people hitchhike in the area.
“I can’t explain why I was [at church],” Jalovec 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.”
“Something just said, ‘Hey, ask him where he’s going,'” she said.
According to Jalovec, Laundrie asked if she was going to Jackson. She informed him that she was not, as she lived in the opposite direction, but agreed to drop him off at the Spread Creek dispersed camping area after he asked. The camping area is roughly a 20-minute drive from where Jalovec picked the hitchhiker up.
Jalovec did not realize that the man she had offered a ride to may have been Laundrie until she saw Baker’s TikTok videos. Both women describe the small talk made with Laundrie in similar ways. He had informed them he hiked near Snake River and had a fiancée.
When Jalovec and Laundrie arrived at the campground gate, she had offered to drive him in, as the dirt road is miles long and leads to a number of campsites. According to Jalovec, he then attempted to “get out of the moving car.”
Jalovec joked with Laundrie, suggesting he wanted to impress his fiancée by hiking to their site instead of hitchhiking. He insisted he be let out of the car.
“Everything’s legitimate. Everything’s corroborated. I already talked to the FBI,” Jalovec told the outlet.
The hitchhiking events occurred one day before the Petito’s family received a text that read, “No service in Yosemite.” They do not believe Petito wrote the text.
On September 1, Laundrie returned solo to his parent’s home, where he and Petito lived, in North Port, Florida. Petito was reported missing by her family to the Suffolk County Police Department in New York on September 11.
On Tuesday, September 21, authorities announced that the remains found in Grand Teton National Park were identified as Gabby Petito.
“Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999. Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide,” a press release tweeted by the official Twitter account for FBI Denver read. “The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.”
On September 15, the North Police confirmed Laundrie was a person of interest. He has been missing since September 14. His parents did not report he was missing until September 17.
Laundrie remains a person of interest in the homicide of Petito; however, on Wednesday, September 22, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Laundrie for alleged debit card fraud between August 30 and September 1.
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Authorities continue to search the 24,565-acre Carlton Reserve in Florida, where Laundrie’s parents told investigators he went hiking. The reserve is known to be treacherous, swampy and home to dangerous wildlife, including alligators, black bears, insects, rattlesnakes and more.
If you have information on this case, call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
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