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Dog the Bounty Hunter's Daughter Died Miles Away While He Was Preparing for His Wedding

Oyin Balogun
Nov 18, 2021
03:11 P.M.
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Duane "Dog" Chapman has faced many tragedies in his life, including the death of his eldest daughter, Barbara, on the eve of his wedding day and the demise of his then-wife Beth Chapman.

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Duane "Dog" Chapman is most known for starring in his reality show "Dog the Bounty Hunter," where he catches fugitives for a reward. While his on-screen persona may seem tough, the man behind the scenes has faced more heartbreak than one could imagine.

His list of tragedies includes the deaths of two children and his fifth wife. When his daughter passed, he was in the midst of preparing for his upcoming wedding.

Duane Chapman aka Dog the Bounty Hunter on "FOX & Friends" at FOX Studios on August 28, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

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LOSING BARBARA

In 2006, when Dog Chapman was about to marry his long-time love, Beth Smith, he received the most devastating news a father would not dare to imagine – his eldest daughter had died.

This accident happened on May 19, 2006, near Fairbanks, Alaska, the day before the reality star's wedding. Barbara and another victim met their end when the stolen SUV they were riding fell off the side of the road and crashed. According to the authorities at the scene:

"There is no clue as to why they left the roadway. There are absolutely no skid marks on the road. They just went off the road, hit an embankment, and launched."

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HIS DAUGHTER'S UNTIMELY DEATH

Unfortunately, neither of them made it out alive. According to Alaska State Troopers, the accident happened when the SUV slid off the road and rolled down until it landed upside-down.

Before the crash, the victims were suspected of using a stolen credit card to rent a room 50 miles away from Fairbanks. There were also reports of drugs and alcohol, which might have influenced the tragic accident. 

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BARBARA AS DUANE'S DAUGHTER

Barbara was one of Duane's twelve children, and she is survived by her mother, Lyssa Rae Brittain, and her son, Travis Drake-Lee, who was at that time only four years old.

Losing Barbara on the eve of his wedding, many years ago, must have been devastating. But knowing that Barbara's son was getting abused in the hands of his father broke Duane's heart even more. Luckily, he was able to get custody of the boy before things escalated.

Duane and Beth Chapman on September 16, 2003 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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WEDDING BELLS

According to Duane's press agent, the wedding went on as planned after Barbara's demise. The couple got married in Kona, on the island of Hawaii, in a beautiful ceremony.

On behalf of the star, Publicist Mona Woods mentioned that Duane had no idea of the incident until the early morning of Saturday. After considering his options, he decided to go ahead with the ceremony.

During the celebration, the reality TV star told everyone what had happened and used the opportunity to celebrate Barbara's life. It was an emotional moment for him and the lovely guests who came to the wedding.

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LIFE'S CHALLENGES

Sadly, Barbara's death was only one of the many tragic moments in the "Dog the Bounty Hunter" lead's life. Before he became the Dog everyone knows today, the celebrity was convicted of murder and sentenced to five years in prison. He was later released due to good behavior.

Duane's experience helping the wardens catch a prisoner who was about to escape made him pursue a bounty-hunting career. Eventually, this led him to star in his show, "Dog the Bounty Hunter."

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ANOTHER HEARTBREAKING DEATH

Another devastating loss was recorded in 1980, when Dog's son, Zebadiah, died as an infant. He shared his grief with his ex-wife and the mother of his child, Ann Tegnell.

Duane bid goodbye to another loved one in 2019, when his beloved wife and co-star, Beth, died following a long well-fought battle with cancer. Beth's death was undoubtedly difficult for Duane to accept. Still, he shared bits and pieces of their final moments together with the world.

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A PROMISE TO BETH

"For two to three years, she knew this might happen. So she would say, 'Who is going to sit next to you?' And I said, 'No one,"' Duane shared. "'Big Daddy, you better not let another girl take my place.' I said, 'I won't.'"

The star remained adamant that there would never be another woman in his life. Duane narrated her final moments, sharing that Beth looked at him and asked him to look at her. She then asked him to let her go, which Duane had difficulty doing. 

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A QUICK TURN OF EVENTS

However, months after losing his beloved, Duane shocked the world when he introduced a new woman in his life, Francie Frane. The two shared the same pain of losing a spouse to cancer and became sources of strength to each other.

They later decided to make their union everlasting by getting married. Still, despite the marriage, Beth holds a special place in Duane's heart. On what would have been Beth's 54th birthday, the A&E star paid tribute to his late wife with an Instagram post.

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HIS OTHER CHILDREN'S CLAIMS

While Duane pays tribute to his late daughter Barbara whenever he can, his other children, particularly Bonnie and Cecily, recently claimed that they were cut out of their father's life after their mom Beth died in 2019. After Duane remarried, his two daughters weren't particularly happy. 

Bonnie and her sister Cecily became estranged from their father, and it all sprung from the disappointment his children felt when their father jumped into a new relationship soon after their mother died.

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However, even before their mother Beth died, their father had already cheated on her. Cecily said about the ordeal:

"My mom confided in me. My mom confided in us. She loves my father with all of her heart and she wanted him to change. We wanted him to change."

Unfortunately, their rift ended up being so big that both Bonnie and Cecily were not invited to Duane's wedding. In fact, his now-wife, Frane, once shared that she would not allow their wedding day to be ruined by "nonsense" in reference to the girls' claims.

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