Brian Laundrie search: Infamous fugitives who evaded capture for YEARS in wilderness compared to Gabby Petito's fiancé
29th September 2021

THE hunt for Brian Laundrie is being compared to infamous fugitives who evaded arrests for months to years at a time, as the search for Gabby Petito's fiance stretches into a second week.

Survival experts have claimed they believe Laundrie, 23, could be prepared for a long stint in the wild as Dog the Bounty Hunter hints that he could be using a canoe to travel.



Some on social media are claiming it has similarities to the cases of "Utah Moutain Man" Troy James Knapp, Eric Frein, and John Darwin.

The TV star claimed on Monday that he'd received a tip that Laundrie and his parents had visited Fort De Soto Park twice in September, most recently on September 6.

However, Dog claimed that Brian was not with Chris and Roberta Laundrie when they checked out of the part two days later, on September 8.

Laundrie's parents hit back at the claim on Tuesday through a statement from their attorney.

In a statement to WPBF, the Laundrie family's lawyer Steven Bertolino confirmed Brian, Roberta and Chris all visited For De Soto on September 6 but pushed back against Dog's allegations that Brian didn't return home with his parents.

"That dog doesn't know what he's talking about," Bertolino wrote in a text.

"The Laundries had reservations at the campground for September 1 to 3. They canceled those reservations and did not go to the park during that weekend although Dog says they did.

"They did go to that campground September 6 and 7 as a family and they all left together despite the claims of others."

Read our Brian Laundrie live blog for the very latest news and updates…

It is the latest in a string of "sightings" of Brian, including people who claim to have seen him in Canada and Mexico.

Yet some fear he could evade arrest for as long as some of the nation's most infamous fugitives.

TROY JAMES KNAPP

Troy James Knapp spent six years on the run as the infamous "Utah Mountain Man," breaking into cabins for supplies and leaving behind his signature empty bottle of whiskey and rumpled sheets.

Born in Michigan, he ended up in trouble with the cops early and ended up in prison in California for burglary.

He went "on the run" in 2004, skipping parole.

The burglaries in Utah began in 2007 but it wasn't until 2012 that Knapp was identified as a suspect, using cabin surveillance photos and fingerprints lifted from a Jim Beam bottle left in one cabin, according to The Guardian.

Knapp reportedly broke into the homes in the winter, eating their food, sleeping in their beds, and listening to updates on the manhunt for him on their radio.

At times, he left taunting notes for cops and at others, left messages thanking the homeowners.

During the summer months, he reportedly retreated to the woods where he had a doomsday supply of guns, dehydrated foods, radios, batteries, and high-end camping gear.

He was finally tracked down in 2013 after cops followed his prints on snowshoes for three days.

Yet even when they ambushed the home he was found at, Knapp didn't give up, shooting at the helicopters that were sent to follow him.

When his escape route was eventually cut off, he allegedly told arresting officers: "You got me, good job."

Utah authorities battled for years to change Knapp's image as something of a folk hero.

He was charged with dozens of robberies and sentenced to ten years in prison in June 2014.

ERIC FREIN

Sniper Eric Frein, 38, was accused of "literally hunting humans" after the Poconos in Pennsylvania were plunged into fear when he went on the run with his rifle for 48 days in 2014.

The manhunt, which covered 300-square-miles, began when he fatally shot one trooper and severely injured another outside a Pennsylvania State Police barracks.

Frein was identified as the suspect three days later.

Schools were closed and 1,000 officers were drafted into the hunt as a media frenzy surrounding the search for the  “survivalist” and military “reenactor."

He was finally caught on October 30, 2014, and placed in the handcuffs of the trooper he had killed.

No clear motive has ever been identified.

While on the run he wrote a letter to his parents that claimed: “Our nation is far from what it was and what it should be.

“There is so much wrong and on so many levels only passing through the crucible of another revolution can get us back the liberties we once had," he added.

"Tension is high at the moment and the time seems right for a spark to ignite a fire in the hearts of men. What I have done has not been done before and it felt like it was worth a try.”

Yet he did not make clear for what reasons, such a government or taxes.

He was sentenced to death in 2017.

ERIC RUDOLPH

Eric Rudolph, often known as the Olympic Park Bomber, evaded arrest for five years while hiding out in the North Carolina mountains.

His first known attack was on Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park in July 1996 where he killed two people and injured hundreds.

The convicted murderer had initially remained under the radar as a security guard named Richard Jewell was identified as the main suspect for the Olympic bombing.

Yet he was later named as a suspect after he was spotted by a witness before a bomb was detonated in a women’s health clinic in Birmingham Alabama in 1998, killing a security guard and critically injuring a nurse.

Rudolph was then tied to two other bombings: One on an Atlanta-area medical clinic that performed abortions in January 1997 and where seven were injured; and another on a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, where he injured four people in February of that year.

He was officially charged in February 1998 but remained on the run and survived by sleeping in abandoned houses and summer homes.

Rudolph was finally caught in 2003 as was cornered outside a grocery store in Murphy.

He was arrested by a rookie cop who found him rooting around in the store's dumpster, according to History.com.

The bomber claimed his anti-abortion and anti-homosexual views as motivation for the attacks. 

He plead guilty to the charges against him in all four bombings and was sentenced to four life sentences without parole.

JASON MCVEAN

Jason McVean reportedly lived off the land as he avoided arrest for years after being accused of killing a Colorado police officer in 1998 with two accomplices, Alan Pilon and Robert Maso.

The trio went on the run after killing Dale Claxton on May 29, 1998.

It led to a massive police chase where they continued to fire on officers.

A week later, more than 500 officers from local, state, and federal agencies were searching as the three men were identified and it emerged that they had anti-government views.

The group was also reportedly previously kicked out of a militia group for allegedly being too violent. 

Mason's was the first body found when they had spent just a week on the run.

His remains were discovered in Cross Canyon in Utah after he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Pilon's remains were found more than a year later in October 1999 in San Juan County, Utah.

It is unclear when he died but it was deemed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

McVean's remains were not found until 2007 when a rancher found him, along with some survival gear and pipe bombs.

The watch by the scene had stopped on May 30,leading authorities to believe he had died within days of the initial cop killing.

A motive was never identified.

ROBERT FISHER

Arizona man Robert Fisher is still on the run more than 20 years after he reportedly murdered his family and set their home on fire.

Fisher, who would have turned 60 this year, has never been found after he was accused of the Scottsdale house fire in April 2001, despite numerous claims of sightings.

The FBI even believed at one point that he was the Mountain Man before Knopp was named though fingerprints.

Fisher is also described as a survivalist, skilled hunter, and outdoorsman.

He is on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List and tips still come in two decades on.

"This is, by far, the most heinous crime that we've had here in Scottsdale," said Scottsdale Police Detective John Heinzelman.

JOHN DARWIN

British man John Darwin, 71, vanished in March 2002 making it look like he had been lost at sea while out canoeing off the UK coast in an insurance scam worth hundreds of thousands.

He and his wife Anne fled to Panama after his "disappearance," as John planned a new life for them using insurance and pension payouts.

He then spent several years hiding in a house adjoining his home in Seaton Carew as Anne acted the role of a widow.

The couple allowed their sons Mark, 45, and Anthony, 42, to believe their dad was dead.

Darwin then suddenly reappeared at a London police station in 2008, claiming he had lost his memory.

They were later caught, with John and Anne being jailed for more than six years each.

The couple came up with the scam after struggling to make mortgage payments. 

Darwin was released from jail in 2011 but broke his parole two years later traveling to Ukraine to meet Anna Avramenko, 25, who he had met on a website for foreign brides.

He now lives in the Philippines with his new wife Mercy May, who he also met online and reportedly bankrolls his lifestyle.

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