TOMS RIVER, N.J. – A neighbor of the man accused of murdering a teen girl rode with the two of them in a car the night she was last seen, according to a published report.
"I was the last one to see them together," Tom Long told The New York Times in Tuesday's newspapers. "She didn't seem scared.
Long said the three of them were together July 11, when Fuller gave him a lift home. He said Gregory was speaking with the man now accused of killing her.
"She wouldn't talk to me; it was like she didn't know me and she didn't want to know me," Long said. The newspaper said he would not provide more details, but that Long said he was cooperating with the investigation.
The body of Gregory, who lived in Brick Township, has not been found.
Attempts to reach Long on Tuesday morning were unsuccessful. There is no phone listing in his name in Howell Township, and messages left at homes listed under his last name were not immediately returned.
On Monday, the mother of Brittney Gregory seethed as Fuller, 38, of Howell Township, sat in a red jail jumpsuit and whispered to his lawyer.
Outside the courthouse, a tearful, angry Debra Gregory said she does not want to see her daughter's killer executed.
The death penalty is "too good for him," she said, adding that she wants to see him "in jail for the rest of his life, and I hope he lives to be 100."
Robert Gasser, executive assistant Ocean County prosecutor, said search parties were still looking for the teenager's body in several locations in Brick, Lakewood and Howell.
With better weather on Monday, authorities planned to use a state police helicopter to assist, Gasser said. Heavy rains grounded the helicopter on Sunday.
Fuller did not enter a plea during the brief appearance before Superior Court Judge James N. Citta. No further hearings were scheduled.
Fuller remains in custody at the Ocean County Jail on $1 million bail. He appeared in court with a public defender, but told the judge he plans to hire a private attorney, which he has not yet done.
Authorities have not explicitly said why they filed a murder charge against Fuller in the absence of a body. Gasser declined further comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Family members described Brittney Gregory as a straight-A student who always wanted to become a forensic scientist.
As she entered the courthouse, Gregory's mother said she longs to hold her daughter again.
"She was just a good kid," she said. "I want her back. I want her back. Just give her to me."
Brittney's mother sat on the end of a third-row spectator's bench, telling family members she wanted to get a good look at Fuller and ensure he would see her.
"I want to look right in that man's face," she said shortly before the hearing began. "I want to see his face. I want him to see me."
Brittney Gregory has not been heard from since about 8:30 p.m. last Sunday when she called her mother from her father's house. The 16-year-old said she wanted a ride to her boyfriend's home. When her father's girlfriend returned home later that night, Brittney was not there.
Fuller has a history of drug and theft-related arrests, twice being sentenced to five-year prison terms in Ocean and Monmouth counties. He was most recently released from prison in April 2003.
Gregory family members said they knew Fuller because Brittney's sister, BobbiJoe, was a friend of Fuller's daughter, Cassandra.