Charisma Magazine

FAITH: The Dog’s Next Hunt

Written by Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman

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I am Dog the Bounty Hunter. I will always be Dog the Bounty Hunter. Until the day I cannot physically chase down bad guys, you can be sure I will be out there on the hunt! In the last 40 years, I have chased down and caught more than 10,000 people, and that’s a record I believe will stand. But these days, I am no longer going after bail jumpers. I don’t get interested in chasing people unless they are felons and either the boys in blue or the Feds in black can’t seem to track them down to bring them to justice.

I don’t care where the chase leads me. I will hunt them down wherever they hide! I am especially motivated if the criminal on the run is accused of harming a woman or a child. When I hear about a crime like this, my inner warrior rises up, and I can’t help it—I have to join the hunt to find him and take him down! I feel the cry of the innocent for justice.

It makes me remember the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible when Cain killed his brother in jealous anger. God asked Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” and he answered, “I don’t know; I’m not his keeper.” But God told him that his brother’s blood cried out to Him from the ground. It’s the same with me. It’s as if the blood of the victim cries out to me from the ground. I must go.

Continuing the Mission

Because Beth was such an important part of my television success as Dog the Bounty Hunter and fans still have a deep connection to her, some have criticized or questioned whether I should continue bounty hunting with Francie as my wife. Some have even suggested it is time for me to hang up my badge, but I can’t do that. I will always honor Beth’s memory, and I am grateful for the life we had together. I still grieve her passing, as Francie does for Bob. As a widower and a widow, we will never forget the spouses we lost, but Francie married me as Duane “Dog” Chapman—Dog the Bounty Hunter. She knew when she said yes that hunting down bad guys to bring them to justice is an important part of who I am. It’s in my blood.

This was confirmed shortly following our wedding. Within days of our ceremony, people started reaching out to me about the search for Brian Laundrie after the body of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, was found in the Grand Tetons and the case gained national attention. I am a father. I lost Barbara Katie when she was 23, so I had an immediate emotional connection with Gabby’s parents.

I always say the bigger the case, the more information you have because people are curious. People want justice served, so they get invested and want the guy found.

We were on the first night of our honeymoon in Florida. After Francie was asleep, I got up and googled to find out how far Laundrie’s family home was from where we were staying. I couldn’t believe it—their house was only about a hundred miles from where we were staying!

I sat there staring at the screen, wrestling with my urge to go after Laundrie because I knew a honeymoon was about connecting with your spouse. For me, it is about spoiling your bride and making sure she has the time of her life and knows how excited you are to be with her. I didn’t want to spoil our honeymoon by being distracted by the hunt for Brian Laundrie. I approached Francie cautiously, “Say, do you realize that our hotel is only a hundred miles from the house where Brian Laundrie’s parents live?”

I had already decided if Francie was not intrigued or just wanted to go sit on the beach, then I would honor her and stay out of the hunt until after our honeymoon was over. We had chosen Florida because Francie wanted to play in the ocean and put her feet in the sand. But she surprised me. She got this twinkle in her eyes, broke into a big smile and said, “Honey, do you want to go there?”

“So bad,” I answered.

“OK, let’s go tomorrow.” God, I love that woman!

“The Knock Heard ‘Round the World”

We took a road trip just to do a drive-by of the house and neighborhood. I wanted to get the lay of the land. Sometimes when I see a place, I hear God talk to me about the person, and He gives me something—a clue—that helps me locate them.

I don’t mind telling you that I was a little worried about confronting Laundrie’s father. You could see from press interviews that he was aggravated and on edge. Florida has a Stand Your Ground law that allows you to shoot someone in self-defense. So if I approached Mr. Laundrie at his home and he perceived I was a threat, according to the state of Florida, he could shoot me without legal repercussions.

Francie and I had been married only a short time, and I was in no hurry to exit earth, but I felt like I had to prove to my new wife that I was a brave man. If he shoots me, I rationalized, at least Francie will see me go down in a blaze of glory!

When we found the neighborhood, I could see reporters everywhere. We drove past the house a few times, and on my third trip around the block, a cop waved me over.

“Hello, Officer,” I said, rolling down my window. “How are you?”

“Hey! You’re Dog the Bounty Hunter!” he exclaimed.

“Yes, sir, I am. I’ve been driving around this neighborhood thinking about Brian Laundrie. That’s his parents’ house, right? I would really like to go up there and knock on the door.”

“Well, when do you want to go?” he asked.

“Right now,” I bluffed. I expected him to tell me I couldn’t. With so many reporters around, I was sure there had to be an injunction against the press bothering them for interviews or something, but I didn’t want to let Francie down.

“Hang on,” he said, “let me pull my officers off the door first.”

“What?” I answered, surprised. “Oh no, that’s OK…”

“Yeah, yeah! Let’s go up there!” Francie shouted.

“Honey, reporters are crawling all over the place. If Laundrie is in there, he is not coming out, and his family is certainly not going to let me in!” I protested. “I probably need to scout the area more so I can come up with a plan. Maybe we should come back later when they let their guard down.”

“Well, we drove all this way. Aren’t you at least gonna knock?” she asked. She had that look in her eyes, which I already knew meant I was going to go knock on that door. We parked, and I walked up the driveway and approached the front door.

“That’s Dog the Bounty Hunter!” I could hear reporters shouting.

This is nuts, I thought as I approached the front entrance. He could still shoot me. The house had one of those metal storm doors with a screen that you could keep shut while the main door was open so you could let in a breeze. I banged loudly. My signature knock.

No answer.

I walked around and then banged again.

No response.

I knocked several times, with my every move caught on camera. You will find video footage all over the internet from several major news outlets that captured me walking up to the Laundries’ house, banging on the door (without any answer) and talking to the neighbors across the fence.

I felt in my gut the parents knew where their son was. Whether they wanted to talk to me or not, I could just feel that Laundrie was close.

“He’s near,” I told Francie as I slid back into the car. “That boy slunk back home with his tail between his legs, and I’m going to find him for Gabby’s parents—for Gabby!”

As we drove off, I said, “Well, Dog the Bounty Hunter knocking on his door is going to rain down attention on this family. This thing just got lit up!”

That evening when we got back, I started researching the case more. I found an article titled “The Knock Heard Around the World.” I was so proud of that! I knew that my interest and involvement meant national media attention would swell. That was good for the case because the more media coverage, the more average citizens would be on the lookout and have valuable information.

Our tip line got thousands of calls. I had put together a team I call “The Essentials,” made up of retired law enforcement officers and federal agents still in their prime whose wisdom and experience are too good to waste.   

Adapted from Nine Lives and Counting: A Bounty Hunter’s Journey to Faith, Hope, and Redemption © 2024 by Dog TBH Corporation. Published by Thomas Nelson.

Duane Lee Chapman, also known as “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” is an American TV personality known for popular programs that follow his life and adventures as a bounty hunter. Dog is deeply involved in crime fighting and advocating for tougher legislation to curb crime. He is launching several media ventures, including a new TV show and podcast, and is a New York Times bestselling author of two previous books. Dog operates Light Up the Darkness ministry with his wife, Francie, whom he married in 2021. They reside in Florida.

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