Duane "Dog" Chapman may have his fans, but members of the law enforcement community are not among them. A former FBI agent even told the New York Post this weekend that Chapman's own search for Brian Laundrie could "sabotage" what law enforcement is doing. Earlier this month, the vice president of the Flordia Bail Agents Association told the Daily Mail Chapman could be charged with kidnapping if he took Laundrie into custody against his will. Laundrie is the person of interest in the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito.
"He sounds like he's going out there trying to dig around for information that could, at times, sabotage what law enforcement is doing," Matthew Young, a former FBI special agent, told the Post Saturday when asked about the Dog the Bounty Hunter star's Laundrie search in Florida. "Often, it's not helpful to law enforcement techniques and operations." Kevin Harrington, the COO of MG Security Services and a former NYPD detective chief, also chimed in, saying that no one in "real law enforcement respects people in fake law enforcement."
Former Texas bounty hunter Rick Kincaid suspects Chapman is also overselling his resume. In a 2020 interview with The New York Times, Chapman claimed he has found 10,000 fugitives in his career, but Kincaid thinks that is hyperbole. In his 11-year career, Kincaid said he has found between 300 to 400 suspects. Chapman would have had to find one fugitive a day for over 27 years to reach 10,000, Kincaid said. Law enforcement would likely find Chapman "more in the way than anything else," Kincaid said.
Many of Chapman's most vocal critics, including estranged stepdaughter Cecily Chapman, have accused him of using the Laundrie search to drum up publicity. Kincaid agrees. "As far as Dog, he's more of a publicity person than an actual bounty hunter," he told the Post. He added that it would be better for a bounty hunter to do the job with a low profile, nothing that bounty hunting "is not a reality show."
Earlier this month, the Daily Mail reported that Chapman is not a licensed bounty hunter or private investigator in Florida, where authorities are still searching for Laundrie. Therefore, his search is no different than any other private citizen's search. If Chapman found Laundrie and held him against his will, that could be "kidnapping or false imprisonment," Mike Harrison, the vice president of the Florida Bail Association, told the Mail. Harrison suggested Chapman likely doesn't have a license because he was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the 1976 murder of Jerry Oliver.
"Everybody in the business knows Dog is doing this for publicity, maybe to land another TV show," Harrison told the Daily Mail. "This is about getting more likes on social media, more exposure. But if he can find this kid (Laundrie), I guess more power to him."
Laundrie arrived back in Florida on Sept. 1 without Petito, whose body was later discovered in Wyoming. An autopsy determined that Petito was strangled. Laundrie's family reported him missing on Sept. 17, and authorities have been searching for him in Carlton Reserve. Chapman centered his search on Fort De Soto Park. Despite the criticism, the reality TV star has continued his search, even sending a video to The Sun, pleading with Laundrie to "let me have you" and "for once in your life, be a man."