Duane 'Dog' Chapman Pays Private Tribute to Late Wife Beth in Anniversary Ceremony With Fiancee Francie Frane
Dog the Bounty Hunter star Duane "Dog" Chapman held a private ceremony for his late wife Beth Chapman to mark the one-year anniversary of her death. Chapman and a small group of friends and family gathered at one of Beth's favorite spots in Colorado, while Beth's daughter Cecily Chapman held a public memorial in Hawaii. Chapman said he was not sure he "could have done this alone" without his new fiancée, Francie Frane.
The private memorial was held in Deckers, Colorado, near Beth's favorite spot along the South Platte River. Chapman filled one of Beth's rafts with Hawaiian flowers, a picture of Beth and her trademark cowboy hat before setting it down in the river. "In a lot of religions and a lot of beliefs, they mark it as a tradition on the one year date that someone has passed away," the Dog's Most Wanted star told The Sun, which published photos and a video from the ceremony. "So sticking with tradition we are having this memorial for Beth Chapman."
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While Dog had his ceremony in Colorado, Beth's daughter Cecily organized a paddle out ceremony at Waimanalo Beach in Hawaii. Chapman said Cecily told her "a thousand or more people" attended the Hawaii ceremony. Chapman's daughter Lyssa "Baby Lyssa" Chapman also took a trip to the beach this weekend to honor her stepmother.
Chapman said he picked the special spot on the South Platte River because Beth liked to go there every Father's Day and use the same raft they used in the ceremony. "I would always sit here - cold, wet, raining - she always went," Chapman explained. "Usually the weather stayed fine. But she loved it, we went five or six times." Beth would ride the raft down the river and Chapman would pick her up. She would want to go back down the river again though, "like a kid on a rollercoaster," Chapman said.
Aside from Chapman and Frane, his daughter Bonnie Chapman and his sister Michelle attended the ceremony. Lyssa's daughter Abbie, who has been living with Chapman and Frane, attended, as did Chapman's niece Bridget. Chapman said he still "can't believe it's been a whole year" since Beth's death on June 26, 2019, and she is "never coming home."
Chapman said Beth's death has brought the family closer together. If he goes a day without calling anyone, they think he has abandoned them, he said. "So it has brought our family closer together," Chapman told The Sun. "I think this is a really nice thing to do for Beth and she would be so proud we thought of this."
Chapman began dating Frane earlier this year and announced their engagement in May. Some fans criticized Chapman for getting engaged so soon after Beth's death, but he was quick to defend his actions. He told PEOPLE he believes Beth would understand his desire to have a partner and said "There will never be another Mrs. Dog."