LOS ANGELES - Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman on Wednesday contracted a private search and rescue K-9 team to search an island called Egmont Key off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, in his search for Brian Laundrie.
A crew of four people carrying backpacks and other supplies left on boats with three K-9s. Chapman confirmed to Fox News that he hired the team for help in looking for Laundrie, a fugitive person of interest in the disappearance and homicide of his fiancé, Gabby Petito.
"We're out here at the island," Chapman said in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday. "This would be and could be a perfect spot for him to hide, not too many people out here."
Egmont has a pilot house, a ranger station and a lighthouse that was built in 1858 but is primarily a wildlife refuge. The entire island is 450 acres and lies about two miles southwest of Fort De Soto Park – a distance easy to kayak under the right conditions.
There is speculation Laundrie may be in hiding off the coast of De Soto, where he and his parents went on a camping trip between Sept. 6-8, according to a park ledger.
Chapman announced Saturday he was entering the search for Laundrie, and tips quickly poured in. He told Fox News he received a tip on Monday that Laundrie’s parents spent the night in Fort De Soto Park with their son twice in early September from Sept. 1-3 and Sept. 6-8.
He later added: "Allegedly, what we’re hearing, is two people left on the 8th. Three people came in on the 6th, and two people left on the 8th. I think he’s been here for sure."
Laundrie and Petito were on a cross-country trip in a Ford Transit van over the summer and had spent weeks documenting their trips out West before Laundrie returned home to Florida on Sept. 1 without Petito, who was reported missing on Sept. 11. Petito's remains were discovered eight days later on Sept. 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Moose, Wyoming, where tipsters spotted the couple's van at a campground in the area.
The FBI and local law enforcement have been on the hunt for Laundrie since he returned home. Laundrie's parents told officials on Sept. 17 that they hadn't seen their son since Sept. 14. A federal court in Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant against Laundrie last week.