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Woman Who Drove Hitchhiking Brian Laundrie Noticed 'Nothing Extraordinary' — Until They Got Near Van

People logo People 9/27/2021 KC Baker
a man and a woman standing in front of a mountain: Find Gabby/Facebook Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie © Provided by People Find Gabby/Facebook Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie

The second woman who picked up Brian Laundrie while he was hitchhiking in Wyoming in late August said there was "nothing extraordinary about him" — until they neared the van he and Gabby Petito drove during their cross-country trip.

a man and a woman standing in front of a mountain: Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie © Find Gabby/Facebook Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie

"He got agitated when I said, 'Do you want me to take you past the gate, down the road [to the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area]?'" Norma Jean Jalovec, 52, tells PEOPLE.

"He was like, 'No, no, no, no, no. This is fine,'" she recalls. "He said, 'Just let me out here. You can let me out here.'"

As she slowed to a stop, "he literally was getting out of the passenger seat," she says.

Jalovec found Laundrie's "antsy" demeanor odd because at the spot that he exited her vehicle, he would have to walk several miles down a dirt road to get to his van — and nightfall was quickly approaching.

RELATED: Another Woman Claims She Had Strange Encounter with Hitchhiking Brian Laundrie: Report

Jalovec, who lives part of the year in Wyoming, says she dropped Laundrie off at the gate on Aug. 29, two days after his fiancée was last seen.

On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned to Florida alone in Petito's repurposed Ford Transit van.

Petito's body was found weeks later in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area. Authorities believe the "van life" vlogger died sometime between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30.

RELATED: Body Found in Wyoming Confirmed to Be Missing 22-Year-Old Gabby Petito, Who Died by Homicide

Lexus Locklear, John F. Kennedy, Meghan Trainor, Renee Zellweger are posing for a picture: gabby petito cover © Provided by People gabby petito cover

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Laundrie hasn't been seen in Florida for more than a week and is the subject of an extensive manhunt that has captured the nation's attention. He has been named as a person of interest in the Petito case, though authorities have not declared him a suspect in her disappearance or murder.

Amid the search for Laundrie's whereabouts, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal warrant for his arrest Thursday, alleging that he used unauthorized credit cards after Petito's death.

Jalovec said she didn't realize who she'd picked up until she saw a video posted on TikTok on Sept. 17 by Miranda Baker, who claims she and her boyfriend picked Laundrie up on Aug. 29 when he was hitchhiking at 5:30 p.m.

RELATED: Woman Claims She Picked Up Brian Laundrie While He Was Hitchhiking in Wyoming in Viral TikTok Videos

Baker said Laundrie "freaked out" when she told him they were headed to Jackson and that he demanded to be let out of their Jeep immediately. They let him out at Jackson Lake Dam, just more than a mile from the church where Jalovec was attending an evening mass, Fox News Digital first reported.

A Passenger Jalovec Will Never Forget

Jalovec's church service ended at about 6 p.m. and she began heading home. She says she saw Laundrie hitchhiking on the side of the road just past the Jackson Lake Dam at about 6:15 or 6:20 p.m. and decided to pick him up.

"He was scruffy when he got in the car and he smelled," she says. "He asked where I was going and said, 'Well, can you take me to Jackson?"

She told him she wasn't going to drive him there, since it's in the opposite direction from where she lives.

"He said, 'Well, okay, can you at least just take me down to Spread Creek?'"

She agreed.

a person wearing sunglasses posing for the camera: Gabby Petito Instagram Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie © Provided by People Gabby Petito Instagram Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie

As they drove toward the desolate campground, Jalovec says Laundrie told her the same things Baker said he'd told her on their ride. "He said, 'My fiancée and I live in a van. We're traveling cross-country and blogging about our adventures.'

"Then, he said, 'She's been working on the website and blogging in the van at Spread Creek and I've just been out hiking along the Snake River,'" she recalls.

She asked him which trails he hiked, and he told her he'd been following the path of the river.

"He said he saw moose and elk and, for the first time, bison.

"That area on the way to Spread Creek is known for having these big herds of bison — and they were there that day," she says. "And he was like, 'I hadn't seen bison yet out here but now I have.' So that stood out. I was like, 'Oh, that's cool.'"

As he did with Baker, Laundrie offered Jalovec gas money.

"It wasn't a dollar amount though," says Jalovec, recalling that Baker had said Laundrie offered her $200 to give him a short ride.

Nothing about Laundrie seemed off and he didn't stand out to her during their ride, she says.

"He was right next to me in the passenger seat," she says. "He just looked like a young kid hitchhiking who had been hiking in a park. There was nothing extraordinary about him."

It was only when they reached the gate that his demeanor changed, she says.

"He was antsy and just wanted to get out at the gate," she says.

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Given his insistence to exit the SUV, she says she kept the conversation light. "I said, 'Oh, you don't want your fiancée to see you being dropped off out of an SUV. You want her to think you hiked all the way back.'"

She adds, "But now we all know, obviously, there was a reason why he probably didn't want me to go down that road."

"If no one else comes forward about seeing him after 6:40 p.m.," she says about the time she dropped him off, "then I was the last person to see him" before he left Spread Creek without Petito.

"That puts him there at Spread Creek at 6:40 p.m. on Aug. 29," says Jalovec, who has spoken to the FBI about her encounter with Laundrie.

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