NORTH PORT, Fla. (ABC4) – It has been just over two weeks since Duane Chapman, better known by the name of his TV show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” visited the Florida home of Brian Laundrie. Since then, Chapman has been searching a Florida state park in search of Laundrie, wanted after his girlfriend Gabby Petito’s death.
It has been nearly a month since the Laundries last reported seeing their son, who went missing just days before Petito was found dead in Wyoming. The couple had been on a cross-country road trip until Laundrie returned to Florida in their van without Petito. Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest in Petito’s death, which has been ruled a homicide. The FBI has also issued a federal arrest warrant for Laundrie, accusing him of “use of unauthorized access devices” following Petito’s death.
Since his disappearance, federal authorities have been searching the Carlton Reserve in Florida, a 25,000-acre nature preserve, for Laundrie. Late last week, authorities even brought in Laundrie’s father to help with the search.
While federal and local authorities have focused their search efforts on the Carlton Reserve, Chapman and his team focused on a different nature area roughly 65 miles away – Fort De Soto State Park in St. Petersburg. In late September, he revealed he had learned that the Laundrie family had camped at Fort De Soto just a few days after Brian returned to Florida. Since then, Chapman has not appeared to find anything else indicating Laundrie is at Fort De Soto.
On Sunday, Chapman’s daughter, Lyssa, confirmed Dog had returned home.
“Dad is headed back to Colorado temporarily to handle some business. (Remember, he was in Florida on his honeymoon) We are still actively searching for Brian Laundrie, leaving a team in place in Florida,” she explained in a Twitter post.
Just hours earlier, ABC4 affiliate WFLA’s Josh Benson learned Dog the Bounty Hunter was heading back “to meet with his doctor after injuring his ankle in the search.” Chapman is also said to be “raising funds to continue what he calls an ‘expensive search,” Benson reports.
While authorities have not shared anything new about the search for Laundrie, there were speculations that a body found in North Carolina over the weekend may have been him. ABC4 affiliate FOX 46 reports the body was found in Blue Ridge Parkway, in the western tip of North Carolina. The FBI has received tips suggesting Laundrie may have been in the area. FOX 46 reports authorities have not identified the man but say it is not Laundrie.