TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter has ended his hunt for the missing Brian Laundrie after injuring his ankle – and hints funds are running low in his highly publicized search of an expansive Florida nature reserve.
Dog, whose real name is Duane Chapman, says he has flown back to his home state of Colorado to treat the injury, but insists his ‘team’ is continuing the hunt for Laundrie, who the FBI are seeking as a person of interest over the homicide of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, who was found dead in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming last month.
Meanwhile, his daughter, Lyssa Chapman, took to Twitter in the wake of her dad’s departure from the search, to declare, the ‘bait is set.’
Dog, whose real name is Duane Chapman, says he has flown back to his home state of Colorado to treat an ankle injury, but insists his ‘team’ is continuing the hunt for Laundrie
The 68-year-old TV tough guy, who suffered the alleged sprain spearheading a high-profile search effort for the 23-year-old fugitive, faces claims from critics – including his other daughter Cecily – that he joined the fray solely to stay relevant.
But Chapman has nonetheless has forged ahead, exclusively telling DailyMail.com last month he was pursuing ‘thousands of tips’ in hopes of finding Laundrie.
At the time, the reality star urged a DailyMail.com reporter: ‘I can’t tell you more, but we are getting leads every ten minutes.’
Josh Benson of Florida news outlet WFLA first broke the news of Chapman’s ankle injury.
Josh Benson of Florida news outlet WFLA broke the news of Chapman’s supposed ankle injury on Sunday
Chapman launched his own search for Brian Laundrie last month, and told DailyMail.com he was pursuing ‘thousands of tips’ in hopes of finding the fugitive, who’s been at large for weeks
In a Tweet, Dog’s daughter Lyssa urged her 423,000 followers that her father had merely gone back to Colorado to ‘handle some business’
Then, in another puzzling post, the 34-year-old suggested that her dad had already done enough to flush out fugitive Laundrie – strangely stating, the ‘bait is set.’
Dog announced he was launching his own manhunt for Laundrie days after Petito’s body was discovered. He posted footage of himself wading through the Fort De Soto Park looking for him. Daughter Cecily slammed the snippet as ‘totally staged’
‘Just got an update from Dog the Bounty Hunter’s team,’ Benson wrote on Twitter Sunday. ‘They say he’s headed back to Colorado soon to meet with his doctor after injuring his ankle in the search.’
The reporter then added: ‘He’s also raising funds to continue what he calls an “expensive search.”‘
Benson also asserted in a string of tweets that the TV sleuthhound has assembled a ‘talented’ team to continue the search in his absence.
Timeline of Gabby Petito case
He wrote: ‘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.’
‘He says he will continue to process leads in Colorado while he’s there.’
Meanwhile, Chapman’s daughter Lyssa Chapman took to social media to confirm her father’s 180 in his supposedly sprawling search of Sarasota County’s swamp-laden Carlton Reserve for the elusive Florida runaway.
In a series of tweets, Lyssa alluded that the publicized pull-out was all part of a mysterious strategy put in place by her father to nab Laundrie.
She then simultaneously downplayed the importance of Dog’s search in the Sunshine State, saying he was only there to celebrate his honeymoon after his September 2 wedding to new wife – his sixth – Francie Frane.
‘Dad is headed back to Colorado,’ Tweeted Sunday, adding this disclaimer in parentheses: (Remember, he was in Florida on his honeymoon).’
In the Tweet, Lyssa urged her 423,000 followers that Dog had merely gone back to Colorado to ‘handle some business.’
Then, in another puzzling post, the 34-year-old suggested that her dad had already done enough to flush out fugitive Laundrie – strangely stating, the bait is set.’
Lyssa was then sure to specify in the Tweet that Dog was ‘not giving up’
Lyssa Chapman also asserted ‘we are still actively searching for #BrianLaundrie, leaving a team in place in Florida,’ bolstering Benson’s claim.
‘As always, whatever I can share with you, I will.’
Lyssa’s claim comes as investigators discovered a body in Blue Ridge Parkway National Park in North Carolina on Saturday, days after a hiker claimed he saw the fugitive driving in a white pickup truck along the Appalachian Trail.
On Monday, it was confirmed that corpse did not belong to Laundrie, with the hunt for his remains continuing.
The latest development in the TV bounty hunter’s highly publicized hunt for the runaway Laundrie comes as another of Chapman’s daughters dismissed her dad’s manhunt as little more than attention-seeking – and went as far as to mock him for parading a Monster Energy can as a sign he could be closing in on the fugitive.
Cecily Chapman, 28, told the Sun last week that she thinks her reality star father needs to ‘back off’ and let law enforcement do their job in the expansive search, calling it a ‘publicity stunt.’
‘It’s just a publicity stunt,’ Cecily told the outlet. ‘That’s really what it is. He needs to back off and let the FBI handle it.’
‘A real (TV) network would be aware of the situation,’ she reasoned, before adding, ‘I’m pretty sure everyone knows that this is a f**kng publicity stunt.’
Cecily then voiced her suspicions about her father’s true intentions, citing that Dog has already pitched a show about his hunt for Laundrie to at least one network.
A source told The Wrap he put the idea to A&E – the cable channel which aired his Dog The Bounty Hunter show for nine series before it ended in 2015 – an offer the network ‘immediately passed’ on.
Cecily, who told The Sun that she longer speaks to her adopted father, laughed off his repeated claims of making progress in his search for Laundrie.
‘What, you found a Monster Energy can? What does that do for anyone?’ she asked.
Last Wednesday, Dog brandished a Monster Energy drink can he had recovered from his search of the Fort De Soto Park in Florida where Laundrie is known to have camped with his family one week before he went on the lam.
The can, which appeared to have been drun out of recently, was found at a makeshift campsite deep in the woods at Shell Island along the coastline by the park.
A spokesperson for Dog said the same day that he was ‘working on very strong leads’ and that it ‘could very well be the last day of the hunt to apprehend Brian Laundrie.’
Dog has documented his search for Laundrie extensively on social media – most recently releasing footage of him wading through swamp water in the park on October 3.
Cecily slammed the widely-circulated footage as ‘totally staged’ and questioned how her father is funding the search.
‘Realistically, how is he doing this, what the hell is he doing, and who is funding this nonsense!?’ she asked.
‘He’s trying to distract everybody from everything, that’s what he does. He tries to hide his problems.’
In late September, the reality star marched up to Laundrie’s parent’s home in Sarasota County with a camera crew in what proved to be a very public visit, parading up their driveway and repeatedly pounding on the couple’s front door.
This visit did not yield any new leads in Dog’s hunt for Laundrie – but police were eventually called, and the star was forced to vacate the residence.
Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, set off on a cross-country excursion July 2 on the adventure of a lifetime traveling across the US in their white campervan over the course of several months and chronicling their adventures on YouTube.
On September 1, Laundrie arrived back at his family’s home in North Port without his fiancée, but still driving the couple’s shared van.
Petito was not reported missing for another ten days, until September 11, after her mother grew concerned after not hearing from her for multiple days and receiving an unsettling wall of silence from Laundrie and his parents.
The Laundrie family then proceeded to lawyer up, and refused to let police speak to Brian about his fiancee’s whereabouts.
His parents then reported him as missing on September 17 – two days after he was last seen, after allegedly telling his mother and father that he was going hiking in the nearby Carlton Reserve – five miles from the family’s home.
Petito’s body was subsequently discovered at a campsite near the Grand Teton National Park on September 19, and her death was ruled a homicide by investigators.
However, it is still not clear how Petito died.
According to the FBI, the Long Island native was likely killed between August 27 and August 30.
The last reports of Petito being seen alive were on August 27, when witnesses said they saw the couple involved in a ‘commotion’ in a Wyoming restaurant.
Local police and the FBI have now been searching for Laundrie for more than three weeks – but the 23-year-old has somehow managed to evade capture.
He is still at large.
The FBI have been searching for Laundrie for weeks, as he is a person of interest in the homicide of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, whose body was found September 17 in Wyoming. The pair had been embarking on a cross-country excursion in van for months, when Laundrie suddenly returned home to Florida without Petito in August. He went missing in September
Cecily mocked her famous father for parading a Monster Energy can (above) he found at a makeshift campsite at Fort De Soto Park in Florida where Laundrie is known to have camped with his family one week before he went on the run
Dog the Bounty Hunter’s estranged daughter Cecily Chapman (pictured together) dismissed his manhunt for Laundrie as a ‘publicity stunt’