Major Update On Dog The Bounty Hunter's Involvement In Laundrie Search

By Jason Hall

October 11, 2021

Photo: @Gabspetito/Instagram/Getty Images

Duane 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' Chapman has reportedly pulled himself out of his ongoing search for Brian Laundrie -- the fiancé of Gabby Petito and a person of interest in her death -- due to an ankle injury.

WFLA anchor Josh Benson reports Chapman's team confirmed the bounty hunter was "headed back to Colorado to meet with his doctor" after injuring his ankle and his "Florida Team" will continue to search for Laundrie while he's gone, but Chapman does plan on returning to continue the search.

Additionally, Chapman is raising funds to continue what he described as an "expensive search," according to Benson.

"Team says he’s put together a talented network of local team members he calls the ‘Florida Team’ that will continue the search while he’s gone," Benson tweeted on Sunday (October 10). "He says he will continue to process leads in Colorado while he’s there."

Earlier this month, a representative for the bounty hunter told TMZ that Chapman, his wife and their family are adding a $10,000 reward for any information that leads the group to capturing Laundrie.

The reward money for information pertaining to Laundrie's whereabouts was previously at $170,000 -- most of which was donated by private individuals supporting the Petito family -- prior to Champan's pledge.

Last week, Dog's estranged daughter, Cecily Chapman described her father's search as a staged "publicity stunt" during an exclusive interview with The Sun.

"It's just a publicity stunt. That's really what it is. He needs to back off and let the FBI handle it," Cecily Chapman said.

The television bounty hunter has provided updates in his search for Laundrie on social media since initially claiming he had a tip about the 23-year-old's whereabouts last month.

It's worth noting that Thinkfactory Media is shopping a new series starring Champan amid his recent insertion into the nationally publicized search for Laundrie, according to Variety.com, which Cecily questioned as a possible motive for the search, comparing it to her father's previous search of Max Factor her Andrew Lester, who he located in Mexico, but notes this situation is different.

“A real network would be aware of the situation and I'm pretty sure everyone knows that this is a f****** publicity stunt,” said Cecily, who had previously accused her father of not inviting her or her sister, Bonnie Chapman, to his wedding to Francie Frane last month.

Chapman famously starred in A&E's Dog the Bounty Hunter series for eight seasons, as well as the CMT series Dog and Beth: On the Hunt alongside his late wife, Beth Chapman, for two seasons.

The couple was also featured in the A&E special Dog and Beth: Fight of Their Lives, which chronicled Beth's cancer diagnosis in 2017.

Dog's most recently starred in the WGN America series Dog's Most Wanted, which aired in Fall 2019, while another series, Dog's Unleashed, was scheduled to air on the streaming service UnleashedTV before being scrapped, Variety reports.

Thinkfactory's latest pitch involving the bounty hunter is reported to chronicle Chapman's day-to-day life and exploits, which would likely include his recent involvement in the search for Laundrie.

During an interview with TMZ on Monday (October 4), Chapman said he believed Laundrie was "alive" but not "doing well" and showed "no evidence" of being suicidal through his prior social media presence.

"If you go to his Instagram pages and look what kind of person he really is and the books that he reads and especially a very favorite book, that's not books for sucidal people," Chapman said.

On Sunday (October 3), Chapman tweeted a video update of himself wading through the Florida swamp waters in search for Laundrie.

"The search has continued throughout the weekend on the islands off the west coast of Florida," Chapman tweeted along with a video of himself and others wading through the Florida swamp waters.

On September 30, police released additional bodycam footage which shows Petito telling an officer that an argument with Laundrie got physical.

The newer footage stems from the incident on August 12 in Moab, Utah in which police made contact with Petito -- whose remains were found on September 19 -- and Laundrie -- a person of interest in her death whose whereabouts are currently unknown.

A bystander called the Moab Police Department and reported seeing a man hitting a woman. Officers pulled over the van Laundrie and Petito were traveling in on their cross-country trip and Petito told officers that she intially slapped Laundrie before he retaliated.

"I guess, but I hit him first," Petito said when asked by an officer if Laundrie hit her in the face.

"Where did he hit you? Don’t worry. Just be honest," the officer asked.

"Well, he grabbed my face," Petito said.

"Did he slap your face? Or what?" the officer responded.

"Well like, yeah he grabbed me with his nail, and I guess that’s why I definitely have a cut right here because I can feel it when I touch it, it burns," she said, while holding her jaw and crying.

The video then shows Laundrie recanting his side of the incident.

"She gets really worked up, and when she does she swings, and she had her cellphone in her hand, so I was just trying to push her away," Laundrie said.

The new video adds to previously released bodycam footage showing the couple addressing the incident with police, which an officer described as a mental health crisis, not a domestic assault, according to a police report.

The city of Moab announced on September 28 an independent investigation will be conducted on officers' handling of the situation involving Petito and Laundrie.

Last month, an arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie after a grand jury indicited him for his "use of unauthorized devices" during the events following the death of Petito.

The indictment obtained by CNN accuses Laundrie of using a debit card and PIN number for accounts that didn't belong to him between August 30 to September 1 in order to make purchases totaling more than $1,000.

A source close to Laundrie's family told CNN the 23-year-old left his own wallet and cell phone behind when he was last seen leaving his parents' Florida home 10 days ago after he initially returned to the area from a cross-country road trip without Petito, who was reported missing on September 11.

The source added that Laundrie's parents were concerned he might harm himself at the time he left their home.

An attorney for Laundrie's family emphasized that the arrest warrant isn't related specifically to Petito's death, rather incidents committed by Laundrie afterward.

"It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise," Steve Bertolino said in a statement. "The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum."

"While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito's homicide," added FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. "We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI."

On September 24, local and federal authorities continued to search for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve, a nature preserve estimated to be around 25,000 acres, in North Port near his family home after pausing September 23 due to darkness.

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