‘We’re Here at the Island’ — ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ Believes Brian Laundrie Is Close

Duane "Dog" Chapman married Francie Frane at a wedding in Colorado two years after the death of his wife Beth Chapman. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Jim Ruymen/UPI

Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman claims to have the scent of fugitive Brian Laundrie and believes he is close to capturing the runaway former fiancé of Gabby Petito.

In a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, the famed reality TV star announced he and his team arrived at an island near Fort De Soto Park in Florida where they believed Brian Laundrie disappeared.

“We’re here at the island,” Chapman said on Wednesday in a video captured this morning. “This would be and could be the perfect spot for him to hide. Not too many people out here but there’s a lot of environmental things that we’re going to fight.”

“So here we go,” he added. “The search now is really on. The search has just begun.”

In the tweet caption, Chapman said he deployed his team of people along with search dogs to a “key area” based on trusted intelligence.

“Earlier today we launched an active and specific search in a key area based on the intelligence we are receiving and researching,” he said. “Boat crews and ground teams have been called in and we have search and rescue dogs deployed.”

According to TMZ, a source close to Chapman confirmed the famed bounty hunter is “close” to capturing the fugitive, though the island’s rugged terrain has slowed the search.

“We’re told the terrain there is rugged and is slowing the speed of the search a bit, but the plan is to continue into the night and spread out to other nearby islands if need be,” noted TMZ.

“TMZ has learned [Chapman] now says Laundrie is alive, and Dog feels he’s close to capturing him,” the report added.

Later, Fox News learned “Chapman and his team found no conclusive evidence that Brian Laundrie was on Egmont Key by Wednesday evening” after they discovered “a campsite and fresh Monster can deep in the woods while searching Shell Island.”

On Monday, Chapman confirmed to Fox News that his team received multiple tips indicating that the former boyfriend of the now-slain Gabby Petito had visited the Fort De Soto Park with his family several times in early September after Laundrie returned from his road trip without his former girlfriend.

According to Chapman, surveillance footage and the park’s registry show the Laundrie family stayed at the park between the nights of Sept. 1-3 and Sept. 6-8 – less than a week prior to when the prime suspect disappeared.

“They were registered, went through the gate. They’re on camera. They were here,” Chapman told Fox News on Monday. “We think at least if he’s not here right now, we are sure he was caught on camera as he went in the gate — that he was here for sure. Not over in the swamp.”

“Allegedly, what we’re hearing, is two people left on the 8th. Three people came in on the 6th, and two people left on the 8th. I think he’s been here for sure,” Chapman later added.

On Tuesday, the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, confirmed Brian visited the park with his parents while asserting they all exited the park together.

“They all left the park,” Bertolino said.

On Monday, Bertolino also denounced theories Laundrie’s parents aided in his escape.

“They are concerned about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him,” Bertolino wrote in a statement on Monday. “The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just wrong.”

Speaking with Dr. Oz on Tuesday, Chapman noted parents often lie about knowing of their child’s whereabouts when they become fugitives.

“Well, 50 percent of the time the parents know exactly where they’re at, 35 percent the parents help,” Chapman said. “So many parents I’ve interviewed ‘I have no idea Dog I swear to god. I swear if it was my baby I’d turn him in.’ After I catch them they’re like ‘Dog I couldn’t. I knew.’”

Though police and the FBI have been tirelessly searching the Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve near Laundrie’s home in North Port, Florida since he went missing earlier this month, experts speculated the fugitive may not actually be there, given its harsh terrain.

“I’ve been in the woods in and out all my life … I have learned a lot in my life, and one thing I know is no one is gonna survive out there for two weeks on foot,” Florida cattle rancher Alan McEwen told Fox News.

To theories Brian Laundrie either died or committed suicide, McEwen asserted authorities would have found a body by now.

“Anything dead you find in the woods, you’re gonna look up, you’re gonna see buzzards flying like crazy,” he said. “No buzzards, no body is my theory. And I haven’t seen any buzzards flying.”


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