UPDATED OCTOBER 12, 2021: Duane Dog Chapman, who has said his Christian faith is what led him to join the search in Florida for Brian Laundrie, the person of interest in the disappearance of Gabby Petito, has a message for Laundrie and his parents.
Following the press conference on Tuesday by the Teton County Coroner’s Office in Wyoming, which revealed strangulation as the cause of death in Petito’s murder, Dog said in a statement to ChurchLeaders: “The coroner’s statement has established a timeline that looks worse for Brian Laundrie. His continued evasion of law enforcement makes him look guilty. His best decision now would be to turn himself in. I can’t fathom how Brian’s parents can live with themselves after how they’ve stonewalled the Petito family. They need to be doing more to signal Brian to stop running.”
Laundrie has not been seen since September 14 when he allegedly went for a hike in the Carlton Reserve in Florida following the disappearance of Gabby Petito in Wyoming. Petito was his fiancé and travel partner on a months-long excursion across the U.S. Petito’s case garnered national attention when Laundrie returned to Florida in her vehicle without her and refused to assist law enforcement in the search for her when her parents reported her missing.
Chapman recently left Florida to return to Colorado to attend to personal matters following an ankle injury he sustained during the search. At that time, his spokesperson said: “Dog has not ended his search for Brian Laundrie. Dog and Francie Chapman need to attend to a variety of matters at home in Colorado, including Dog’s ankle injury which occurred during the search. There is still a group of investigators working with Dog who remain in Florida and are researching regional tips.”
ChurchLeaders original article written on October 1, 2021 below:
Dwayne Dog Chapman, famed bounty hunter and looming TV personality, joined the manhunt this week for Brian Laundrie (24), the missing fiancé of Gabby Petito (22) and a person of interest in her disappearance. Dog said through a spokesperson that his Christian faith is what compelled him to take part in the search.
Petito’s case gained national attention when Laundrie returned from the couple’s months-long, cross-country trip to Florida without Petito and refused to assist in the search for her. The couple had been on an extended camping tour across the country, documenting their “van life” travels on social media while portraying a happy-go-lucky, romantic experience. Petito’s family reported her missing on September 11, 10 days after Laundrie’s solo return to Florida.
Laundrie’s family subsequently hired an attorney, and Florida authorities said Laundrie refused to cooperate in the search for Petito. Laundrie allegedly told his parents he was going for a hike on September 14 to the Carlton Reserve and has not been seen since. Five days later, Petito’s body was found by searchers in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming following a massive ground search aided by tips from online sleuths and fellow campers.
Following Laundrie’s disappearance and the recovery of Petito’s body, it emerged that the couple had been questioned in a disorderly conduct incident in Moab, Utah, on August 12, 2021. A 911 caller reported witnessing Laundrie hit Petito. During interviews with police, Petito was emotional and Laundrie had scratches on his face. No arrests were made and police separated the two for the night.
On September 21, the coroner confirmed the identity of Petito’s remains and stated the manner of death was homicide. That same day, special agents from the FBI Denver field office officially named Laundrie a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance.
On September 25th, Dog and his team announced they were joining the search as volunteers. In a statement to The Christian Post, Dog’s spokesperson, Jennifer Willingham, said, “Dog and Francie, who are devout Christians, felt as if their proximity to the search was not a coincidence and they wanted to do something to help the Petito family.” She added, “At the same time, Dog’s fans were sending him tips and urging him to join the search.”
The recently remarried Dog and his wife, Francie, were honeymooning on Marco Island in Florida when the hunt for Laundrie began. The search is currently centered in the Carlton Reserve, a 24,565-acre preserve in Sarasota County, Florida, about 75 miles from Laundrie’s home.