Dog The Bounty Hunter’s Search For Brian Laundrie: Why He Can Legally Arrest Him — Lawyer Explains

Dave Aronberg, a FL state attorney, talked about Duane 'Dog' Chapman's intense search for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in Gabby Petito's homicide, and explained what he can do if he finds him.

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Image Credit: David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock

UPDATE (10/11/2021 @ 8:30 pm EST): Dog the Bounty Hunter has given up the search for Brian Laundrie after injuring his knee, reports TMZ. The incident happened while in rugged terrain, and Duane has made a visit to his doctor in Colorado. While he may not be actively searching, he is continuing to raise funds for efforts.

Duane “Dog” Chapman, 68, made headlines over the past couple of weeks after he announced that he was putting on his own search for Brian Laundrie, the 23-year-old person of interest in his late fiancee Gabby Petitio‘s death, at the same time the FBI is searching for him, and now we’re learning he could actually arrest him if he finds him. The bounty hunter and former bail bondsman has been looking in certain areas of Florida, including an island off the West Coast where he even walked through a muddy swamp, after getting a large number of tips on where the avid hiker could be, and Dave Aronberg, a state attorney for Palm Beach County, FL, says as a “licensed bond agent” he’d “be able to lawfully detain” the missing man, who also has a federal warrant out for his arrest.

“If Dog is a licensed bond agent in Florida, he would be able to lawfully detain Brian Laundrie pursuant to an outstanding federal arrest warrant and turn him over to a court of competent jurisdiction (which is the federal court),” Aronberg EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife.

Brian Laundrie
Brian Laundrie, seen here in a screenshot from police body cam footage, hasn’t been seen since Sept. 13. (Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock)

The arrest warrant for Brian was issued by the state of Wyoming, where Gabby’s body was found at Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19, 19 days after he returned to Florida early from their cross country trip in her van without her. The FBI released a statement about the warrant and said it was issued when they found out Brian “knowingly and with intent to defraud, used one or more unauthorized access devices, namely a Capitol One Bank debit card.”

Aronberg further explained how this arrest warrant could help Dog arrest Brian. “If he’s a licensed bond agent in Florida, thethe citizens arrest laws wouldn’t have to come into play,” he said. “If someone else tries to make a citizen’s arrest, they would have to witness a felony or have reasonable belief that someone committed a felony before they could detain someone. In other words, the citizen would need to be really careful (can’t use more force than necessary) and would have to know it’s really Brian Laundrie, and they would need to call the police immediately.”

Dog the Bounty Hunter joined the search for Brian Laundrie around Sept. 25. (David Zalubowski)

Brian has been missing since Sept. 13 and his last known whereabouts were apparently at the Carlton Reserve in Florida, where law enforcement has been thoroughly searching for the past three weeks. The location spans 25,000 acres and despite consistent efforts from search teams, nothing has been found. Gabby’s preliminary autopsy results concluded that her death was a homicide.