Could this be a case of law bites Dog?
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Duane Chapman, known to reality TV fans as Dog the Bounty Hunter, has absolutely no power to detain Brian Laundrie if he ever catches up with him.
Laundrie is a person of interest in the death of Gabby Petito. Petito’s body was found last month in Wyoming and her death was declared a homicide. She was last heard from on Aug. 25. She was reported missing on Sept. 11, which was 10 days after Laundrie, 23, returned alone to North Port, Florida, where they lived.
After his return, Laundrie told his family he was heading to a nature reserve, but a search there has not turned up any sign of him. Chapman entered the search for Laundrie last month. Chapman was in Florida for his honeymoon, after marrying his new wife, Francie, on Sept. 2. He said he was intrigued by the case and felt sorry for Petito’s family.
Mike Harrison, vice president of the Florida Bail Bondsmen Association, said Chapman could face criminal charges if he finds Laundrie and holds onto him.
“That would be kidnapping or false imprisonment,” Harrison said.
Legally, Chapman is just like anyone else because he has no license as a bounty hunter or private investigator, according to the report.
That would mean that if Chapman were to try to arrest Laundrie, it would be the equivalent of a citizen’s arrest, which would only be valid if the citizen catches a criminal in the act of committing a crime.
The report said a 1976 conviction for first-degree murder over a crime in which Chapman drove the getaway car, but did not participate in the killing, is the reason Chapman can’t get a license.
Jennifer Willingham, Chapman’s publicist, said in an email there is “nothing tenuous” concerning Chapman’s legal status.
In a recent interview with The Sun, Chapman said Laundrie had a very dark side, judging from his books.
“I’m thinking more and more about him being maybe a serial killer, not just a killer of Gabby. The books he read are unbelievable,” said Chapman.
“A couple of the books that he’s been reading are 10 times worse than Dungeon and Dragons. This kid, Brian has taken those books, obviously to heart,” he said.
“And this is what happens when your kid is looking at those kinds of things. He just overnight just didn’t become a killer. A killer is made, and he is built to be or she, a killer,” he said.
Laundrie has not been charged with a crime in connection with Petito’s death.