Duane "Dog" Chapman may have found a lead on the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie, who has been missing for a week and a half amid the disappearance and death of his fiancée, Gabby Petito. The Dog the Bounty Hunter star, who joined the manhunt for Laundrie last week, has been in the Florida woods looking for him and reportedly found something he thinks may lead to the 23-year-old's capture.
TMZ reports that Chapman got a tip that led him and his new wife Francie Frane to a campsite that may be linked to Laundrie. A source told the news outlet that Chapman alerted authorities to the campsite's location because he believes it could play a major part in the manhunt. Chapman, 68, also believes that he has uncovered proof that links Laundrie's parents to the campgrounds.
Chapman told Fox News he received a tip that Laundrie's parents spent the night in Fort De Soto Park with their son twice in early September, from Sept. 1-3 and Sept. 6-8. "They were registered, went through the gate. They're on camera. They were here," he told Fox News Monday evening. "We think at least if he's not here right now, we are sure he was caught on camera as he went in the gate - that he was here for sure. Not over in the swamp."
"Allegedly, what we're hearing, is two people left on the 8th. Three people came in on the 6th, and two people left on the 8th. I think he's been here for sure," he added. Fort De Soto Park is located in Pinellas County about 75 miles away from the Laundries' home. It spans more than 1,130 acres and consists of five keys.
Chapman announced Saturday that he was joining the search for Laundrie; he says he has already received 1,000 tips in relation to the case. Laundrie's mother called 911 on Chapman after he showed up at the family's Florida home on Saturday, something Chapman told Fox News was unfortunate. "The police said we were welcome to knock on the door so we did. I wanted to tell the Laundries that our goal is to find Brian and bring him in alive," Chapman told the news outlet on Monday.
North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said they treat 911 calls from Laundrie's parents like they would anyone else, confirming that they've been called to the house "numerous times for all sorts of issues" including "Media, protesters [and] celebrity searchers." Taylor said, "It's not something normal. If the family calls and is concerned, we will respond like we would for anyone."
Laundrie was named a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance and was charged with bank fraud last week. Petito's remains were found in Wyoming last Sunday, with a medical examiner confirming her cause of death was a homicide.
Chapman suggested that he think Laundrie may have headed for the Appalachian Trail. "He's very young, he's not an experienced criminal," he told Fox News. "He can't stay in cheap motels and... rob people like a lot of people I chase. This kid is an outdoorsman, so I think he went to where he is comfortable, to the outdoors."
Chapman's daughter, Lyssa Chapman, tweeted on Monday, "I can CONFIRM @DogBountyHunter has a HOT lead on Brian's location. Dad has alerted the proper authorities. Say a prayer guys. This could be it."