Most TV lovers have come to admire Duane Chapman for his popular bounty hunter show. However, the crime fighter's life has been filled with tragedies and pain away from the cameras.
68-year-old Duane Chapman rose to fame for his popular show, "Dog the Bounty Hunter." The series sees him capture lawbreakers from their hideouts and bring them to the books.
His most popular hunt came after the successful capture of Max Factor's heir, Andrew Luster, in Mexico. Factor had escaped from the US while undergoing trial for abusing several women.
Duane Chapman [left] and his late daughter, Barbara Katie. [right]| Photo: instagram.com/mrsdog4real Getty Images
After his capture, Chapman and his family enjoyed fame and success spanning many years. But not many fans know that the famous bounty hunter has endured pain and tragedy for most of his life.
Chapman grew up in a tough environment and had several run-ins with the law from his early years. Then, in his early adult years, he had his first brush with tragedy after he was sentenced to jail for a murder he did not commit.
That was not the only painful experience he would have. Chapman also witnessed the death of his wife Beth, with whom he began his man-hunting show, as well as the loss of his children.
Duane and Beth Chapman on September 16, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images
With many arrests for armed robbery and other offenses, Chapman dropped out of school at the age of 13 and led a hard life as a motorcycle gang member.
In 1976, Chapman found himself in a dilemma when a friend shot and murdered a man after a heroin deal went wrong. He was 23-years-old at the time and waiting in a car at the scene of the shooting.
Despite his claims that he was only a co-conspirator in the crime, Duane was found guilty of first-degree murder. When his conviction later banned him from entering the United Kingdom, he declared that his only crime was being at the scene.
Chapman argued that being with a guilty individual implicated him, which was his crime at the time. He also shared that he realized he should have called the cops after his companion killed their dealer.
Chapman's first wife, La Fonda Sue Honeycutt, the mother of his kids Duane Lee Chapman II and Leland Chapman, divorced him. She then married his best friend while he was incarcerated in the Texas State Penitentiary.
Chapman quickly adjusted to his new surroundings in prison. As the warder's barber, he became friends with the inmates, and he later witnessed a life-altering event that inspired him to become a bounty hunter.
MORE LEGAL TROUBLES
The accidental shooting would not be his only legal woe. Following the capture of Andrew Luster in Mexico, Chapman and his team were apprehended while attempting to flee the country. They were charged with "deprivation of liberty" by Mexican authorities.
After being granted bail, the bounty hunter and his associates snuck out of the country on the advice of their legal staff. Chapman was then labeled an international bail-jumper upon leaving Mexico.
On September 14, 2006, US Marshals apprehended Chapman, his son Leland, and his partner Tim in Honolulu on behalf of the Mexican government, just days before the statute of limitations passed.
On August 2, 2007, the First Criminal Court in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, dismissed all criminal charges against Chapman, Leland, and Tim, claiming that the statute of limitations had run out. As a result of the order, all pending charges were effectively dropped.
Chapman has a large brood; he is the father of 12 children and has been married five times. His relationship with some of his children has been rocky at times.
The crime fighter's first child, Christopher Michael Hecht, was born after the reality star's teenage relationship with Debbie White. However, Chapman remained unaware of his son's existence until after White's suicide, and the father-son relationship was rekindled when Christopher was an adult.
Zebediah, one of three children he had with his second wife, Anne M. Tengell, died in 1980, not long after his birth. His loss was excruciatingly painful for Chapman.
In October 2007, audio of Chapman having a phone conversation with his son, Tucker, where he used the n-word in reference to Tucker's girlfriend surfaced. The clip was leaked by Tucker, who sold his father out for $15000, and it sparked public outrage.
Although the reality star apologized publicly, he had done the deed. A&E announced that they were canceling his show. However, the network announced that "Dog the Bounty Hunter" would be brought back to life four months later.
CHAPMAN LOSES HIS DAUGHTER
There was nothing traditional about Chapman and Lyssa Rae Brittian's relationship. They met in a pub when they were both in their late twenties and began dating.
Chapman reportedly offered her $1,000 to have his child, and she appears to have accepted his offer because they had their late daughter, Barbara Katie.
Katie and Chapman shared a fractured relationship. But that did not stop the bounty hunter from mourning her death after news emerged that she had died in an accident.
Katie, Chapman's estranged daughter, died in an auto crash near her house in Fairbanks, Alaska, the night before his wedding to Beth in May 2006.
According to reports, Katie and a passenger were killed when their stolen SUV veered off the road, overturned, hit some trees, and landed upside down. Chapman learned of his daughter's death moments before his wedding in Kona, Hawaii.
He spoke with a pastor, and everyone agreed that the wedding would go on as planned. However, they decided to inform the wedding guests of the awful news at the reception.
According to Spokesperson Mona Wood, the TV personality was deeply saddened as he notified the attendees of the death, and many wedding guests were visibly upset.
Despite his losses, Chapman has continued to stay active in the reality show business. He now helps other bounty hunters with the knowledge of how to catch bandits.
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