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PI Bill Warner: Dog the Bounty Hunter is Interfering with the Search for Brian Laundrie

Duane Chapman a/k/a Dog the Bounty Hunter in the search for Brian Laundrie. Photo by Splash

Sometimes the good PI’s get into legitimate disagreements. Duane Chapman a/k/a Dog the Bounty Hunter lent his world class fugitive-hunting skills to the massive manhunt for Brian Laundrie. Accused of killing his girlfriend Gabby Petito, Laundrie disappeared into the woods. An experienced outdoorsman, Laundrie has proven to be elusive quarry for law enforcement and its drones; helicopters with infrared sensors; and trained police dogs.

Florida PI Bill Warner said that Dog was engaging in a publicity stunt. We respectfully disagree with Mr. Warner. Dog has tracked down about 10,000 fugitives in his illustrious career. You want Dog’s expertise and the FBI welcomed it. In any case, Dog badly injured his ankle in tracking Laundrie and had to return to Colorado for treatment. We wish Dog the best in his recovery.

We also join Gabby Petito’s parents in wanting to see their daughter’s alleged killer captured and brought to justice.


  1. Ms. B. Haven Ms. B. Haven October 28, 2021

    I find it hard to believe that Dog has tracked down about 10,000 fugitives in his illustrious career. Let’s assume that Dog started down this career path in 1979 when he got out of the Texas Big House after serving 18 months for 1st degree homicide. That would mean that Dog has tracked down an average of 238 fugitives per year since he has gotten out on parole. In my book, those are some impressive stats! He has done all of this all the while promoting himself in a manner that would make Joy Villa blush**. His involvement with the Gabby Petito case is a prime example of this shameless self promotion. If Dog were truly interested in justice, perhaps he would take on the thousands of cases of missing indigenous women. He could get a clue as how to do it by watching the movie ‘Wind River’. In fact, everyone should watch this movie, but it is not for the faith of heart. Be prepared to have your guts truly wrenched if you have the courage to take a step into this very real world that gets little or no publicity.

    **and speaking of blushing, using his photo in this posting as an example, Dog should learn some basic skin care techniques by using sunscreen or not over doing the fake tan spray…

    • Jeffrey Augustine Jeffrey Augustine Post author | November 11, 2021

      Ms. B. Haven, bounty hunters go after people who jumped bailed and failed to appear in court. Most of these people are not fugitives in the classical sense, i.e. most bail jumpers don’t have the money, skills, or connections to stay on the run for any length of time. Friends and money run out quickly. Bail jumpers are also at risk because, once they jump bail, they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest. Something as simple as getting pulled over for a speeding ticket will result in their arrest and bail revocation.

      In most cases, the family of someone who needs bail will put up their bail money. So let’s say bail is set at $25,000. The bail bond company will charge 10%, $2500 in cash, to post the $25,000 bond. The bail bond company keeps the $2,500 as their fee. The bail bond company also demands collateral from the family to cover the remaining balance of $22,500. This is usually a note on the family home, cars, or other assets which the bail bond company can seize if the person fails to appear in court and skips bail.

      In the example of a $25,000 bond, if the person fails to appear at court, the bail bond company has to pay $22,500. In order to avoid paying this and going through the legal processing of seizing the the family’s collateral, they hire a bounty hunter. The bounty hunter gets a 10-20% fee of the bail. This too must be paid by whoever posted bail and collateral.

      We’re simplifying things here somewhat, but sometimes bounty hunting is as easy as calling the defendant who failed to appear and saying, “Look, the bail bond company is going to start legal proceedings to seize your mom and dad’s house tomorrow if you don’t turn yourself in. Do you really want to do that to your own parents? Do you want to make them homeless and put them out on the streets at her age? They were trying to help you and this is how you repay them? Why don’t you man up, do the right thing, and meet me?”

      The bounty hunter plays a psychological strategy. The bounty hunter can also say, “Look, there is an arrest warrant out for you. The warrant says you’re believed to be armed and dangerous. The police have a reason to kill you. Better to cooperate with me than risk having the police kill you.”

      Most bail jumpers know they will be serving time and will need their family’s support in prison. They have some level of guilt and self-respect as well: They don’t want to make their parents homeless or have other assets seized. The bounty hunter meets them and turns them in. The bounty hunter gets 10-20% from the bail bond company for doing this. Whoever put up the bail has to pay that fee as well. This is why you have to think about the risks of posting bail for anyone about whom you have doubts.

      It also happens that family of a bail jumper will help the bounty hunter because they don’t want to lose their home or other assets.

      Bounty hunters often don’t need that much time to find someone. Most bail jumpers stay with family, a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a close friend. It’s a small circle. Often, a bounty hunter knows where a bail jumper is hiding. The bounty hunter can easily convince the person a bail jumper is staying with to set them up. The bounty hunter tells the person that they can be arrested for harboring a fugitive and it would be smarter to just let the bounty hunter and his or her team enter the home and seize the person. People who harbor fugitives generally don’t want to be arrested, face criminal charges, and have to post bail. It’s easier to give up the fugitive than have a the bounty hunter call the police and have a SWAT Team surround the house.

      People who harbor fugitives have likely been contacted by the bounty hunter early on. After a week or so, the person harboring a bail jumper gets tired of it. They don’t want to financially support someone forever, particularly if the bail jumper is a drug user and/or is stealing from them. It gets old real fast. It is easier to just call the bounty hunter and let them come in and take the bail jumper.

      IMO, most of Dog the Bounty Hunter’s cases were probably routine small-time cases that don’t take a lot of time. However, Dog has worked some very famous and difficult cases as when he captured Max Factor heir Andrew Luster hiding out in Mexico.

      Bringing in 238 bail jumpers in a year is not unrealistic if most of the cases are small and you have:

      1. The help of families that don’t want to lose their homes or other assets which they pledged as collateral to a bail bond company.

      2. The help of friends that don’t want to get arrested for harboring a fugitive.

      3. The help of friends that grow tired of supporting and hiding a fugitive.

      In terms of Dog helping to find missing indigenous women: Dog is a bounty hunter and what you’re talking about is human trafficking and sex trafficking. Those are two different skill sets. Dog’s daughter Lyssa has entered this field:

      • Ms. B. Haven Ms. B. Haven November 18, 2021

        Thanks for the explanation Jeffrey. I would still posit that with Dog involving himself with the Petito case, he is self-promoting and stepping outside the realm of bounty hunting as you describe. What Dog was doing is almost exactly what was going on in the film ‘Wind River’. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone of his celebrity stature got involved with and brought more attention to this somewhat invisible scourge? And kudos to his daughter for getting involved with helping victims of sex trafficking and human trafficking.

  2. Todd Cray Todd Cray October 31, 2021

    Thank you, Jeffrey, for stating what I would have.

    Did Dog welcome, even seek, publicity? Of course, he did. He marshalled resources otherwise unavailable, made an effort that otherwise would have been absent and lent his celebrity to this cause. And if that helped his own brand, good for him. He deserved it because he and his associates/sponsors actually did something. (Same with John Walsh).

    Did Bill Warner do anything to help? Not as far as we know. Did Warner seek publicity with his comments? Do the math!

    This is one aspect of the media that I find absolutely detestable: Whenever something captures the news, it’s become the media’s M.O. to bring “experts” out of obscurity who tell the reporters what they want to hear (a particularly egregious example was the execrable Michael Avenatti–before his own felonious activities started catching up to him and made him an utter embarrassment to his enablers).

    If it serves media interests, they even let these “experts” snipe anonymously. And sniping is all they ever “contribute.” To what end? To boost the media outlet’s notoriety. The level of deception and hypocrisy is mind-boggling!

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