The quest to find Gabby Petito’s on-the-run fiancé has captivated the public’s interest, including that of Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, who has now joined the search for Brian Laundrie.
An already high-profile case is getting an added boost from the nation’s most famous fugitive hunter. Chapman says his tip line has been flooded with hundreds of good leads that have pointed him down what appears to be a very hot trail.
But he’s not sharing any of what he’s learned with the police.
In an interview with Newsmax on Thursday, Chapman explained that as a private bounty hunter, he and law enforcement officials “work differently” and simply don’t communicate and share leads.
“I guess we kind of do the same thing, but I really don’t pay too much attention, like they don’t pay too much attention to me,” he told hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith. “After 45 years, I don’t call the police, they’re usually called on me. So I don’t know what they’re doing.”
"We're getting calls like crazy. I think the success of this bounty hunt is going to be the tip line." @DogBountyHunter gives an update on the search for Brian Laundrie in the Gabby Petito case. @seanspicer @LyndsayMKeith https://t.co/VlT7z8drtO pic.twitter.com/n5mPatFIj1
— Newsmax (@newsmax) September 30, 2021
He said his four-person team fields every single tip that comes through his 833-TELLDOG line and that 20 percent of the roughly 2,000 calls they’ve received so far have been positive leads.
“I’d like to say, ‘We got him,’ but we haven’t yet, but we’re, you know — pardon the expression — right on his tail,” he said.
“I think the success of this bounty hunt is going to be the tip line,” Chapman said, adding that “we’re getting calls like crazy.”
This week, Chapman has been searching Florida’s Shell Island near Fort De Soto Park, where an attorney for Laundrie’s family confirmed he had camped with his parents on Sept. 6 and 7, according to the New York Post.
UPDATE: Video is from this morning — earlier today we launched an active and specific search in a key area based on the intelligence we are receiving and researching. Boat crews and ground teams have been called in and we have search and rescue dogs deployed. More to follow… pic.twitter.com/g2tq85JTZX
— Duane Dog Chapman (@DogBountyHunter) September 29, 2021
Chapman found what he believed were the remains of a “fresh” campsite in the woods near the park.
When asked by Spicer if he thought Laundrie was still alive, Chapman said he did, “100 percent.”
“This kid has lived in the Appalachian Mountains for two months at a time on his own,” he said.
“He is an avid outdoorsman. So what I’ve seen in the last couple days searching these islands — there’s plenty of food if you like fish, and there’s other food in the ground. So absolutely, this kid could go on.”
He also said that while access to clean water could pose an obstacle to Laundrie, there had been talk of him purchasing a water purifier. If he indeed has one, Chapman said, he could “live off the land” for a long time.
However, he also noted that Laundrie is probably hungry and worn out and being driven mad by his own conscience.
Laundrie is the only person of interest in Petito’s death, which has been ruled a homicide. While he has not been charged in connection with Petito’s demise, an arrest warrant has been issued for charges related to fraudulent debit card use after her disappearance.
The couple had been on a cross-country trip over the summer. Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11 by her parents, who had not heard from her since late August.
Her body was discovered in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19.
Laundrie, meanwhile, returned without Petitio to his parents’ Florida home on Sept. 1. His family promptly hired a lawyer and he refused to talk to law enforcement.
His parents reported him missing on Sept. 17, three days after they say he went on a hike in Sarasota, Florida, and never returned.
Police have received tips that Laundrie might be hiding out in the North Carolina woods along the Appalachian Trail.
If there’s anything unifying Americans right now, it’s this case. We can all agree that Brian Laundrie needs to be found and needs to explain himself.
Leftists may claim that the fascination with Gabby Petito’s disappearance and murder has to do with white supremacy or something. But is it really so hard to understand why people are horrified at the thought of a young woman being killed and dumped in the wilderness by her fiancé?
Even if Laundrie is innocent, he is at the very least hiding something that could explain how Petito met such an untimely and horrific end.
The whole situation shocks the conscience, as well it should. Whether or not the American public trusts Chapman to track him down, the quest to locate Laundrie has become a national team effort, and so be it.
One way or another, someone is going to find him — and it can’t come soon enough.