Ithaca couple Severin Beckwith and Anna Brettmann were staying at the Lodge at Fontana Village Resort on the Appalachian Trail when Feds burst into the room thinking he was Brian Laundrie.
Sharing slight similarities to the missing man’s physical features, Brian Laundrie look-alike Severn Beckwith said that U.S. Marshals pulled their guns on him Saturday morning after storming his hotel room.
“Next thing I see is a bunch of guys with riot shields with ‘US Marshals’ written on them, handguns pointed at my face,” Severin Beckwith told The New Yorker.
Agents swiftly apprehended and handcuffed Beckwith, while helping Anna Brettmann get dressed, before realizing that they were dealing with someone who just happened to look like Brian Laundrie. His Facebook and Instagram profiles paint him as an outdoorsman, but with no connections to Laundrie or the Petito families.
Severin Beckwith is studying for his Master’s Degree at Cornell University in International Agriculture and Urban Development, according to his LinkedIn page. He was recently in Zambia as a Peace Corps Volunteer, working with local farmers to “encourage sustainable agriculture” and “improve food security.”
He also worked with farmers to build tree nurseries, operate fish ponds, and set up HIV education youth clubs at a community school.
Anna Brettmann, who was with Beckwith on the hiking trip, is also at Cornell as a Teaching Assistant for the Dyson School of Economics. She works as a disaster preparedness and effective response specialist, and also spent time in Zambia with the Peace Corps. She helped “support its post-drought recovery process” and “developed working knowledge of Chitonga language,” which Beckwith listed he can also speak.
According to police reports, there was some evidence to suspect that Beckwith was Brian Laundrie. Tipsters had alerted the authorities that they saw Laundrie after Beckwith was spotted on the trail, but he also had a “notch in the upper part of my inner ear just like his.” One of the U.S. Marshal agents had touched his head and told him that his description was very similar.
He and Anna Brettmann, who had been camping and hiking from Georgia to Virginia since September, rented the room with a New York State ID and credit card. Though Brian Laundrie’s family lives in Florida, Gabby Petito was from Long Island, N.Y.
Last month, it was revealed that Brian Laundrie had taken Gabby Petito’s credit card and allegedly “used it to run from police.” Since the 22-year-old woman was reported dead due to strangulation after being missing for weeks, her boyfriend Brian Laundrie has escaped capture. Authorities are still searching for him in Florida and along the Appalachian Trail, where many tips have been phoned in.
After seeing Severin Beckwith’s identification and lack of Laundrie’s tattoos, U.S. Marshals advised him to shave his beard so that fewer people might think of him as a look-alike as he continued his hiking trip. Beckwith said later that he regretted shaving off his beard, because he has “much less of a chin than Laundrie does.”
The Appalachian Trail Fontana Village Resort lodge later comped the couple a free night and a massive complimentary breakfast for accidentally reporting them to the Feds. According to Beckwith, the Marshal showed him a photo that must have been taken in the lobby by one of the Fontana Village Resort’s employees when they arrived.
“It was a buffet,” Severin Beckwith said of the complimentary breakfast. “We took as much as we could.”
Though a disturbing and frightening event, Beckwith and Brettmann reportedly appreciated the matter being swiftly dealt with so that they could continue with their trip. Talking to another hiker later on the trip, Beckwith introduced himself as “Not Brian.”
Late last month, another Brian Laundrie look-alike went viral on TikTok after feeling like he had to clear his name. The man, who is soaking up the hilarious similarities, is unidentified other than his @notbrianlaundrie TikTok account. “Quick request from everyone,” he posted, “Any advice on what I should say to people that think I am Brian Laundrie? Really appreciate it.”
Sounds like “something Brian would say,” one commenter joked. “This is Brian acting like he’s not Brian. Ur not fooling me sir.”
Brian Laundrie has avoided authorities for nearly a month since returning home without Gabby. Police have been combing the Florida national park where he was suspected to be seen last, but reports have been flooding North Carolina of unconfirmed sightings along the Appalachian Trail.
Jim Schmidt, Gabby’s stepfather, told Dr. Phil that he was probably “off the beaten path somewhere, just thinking he’s not gonna get caught.”