KEY POINTS

  • Dog the Bounty Hunter believes Brian Laundrie killed Gabby Petito
  • Laundrie's parents allegedly told their 23-year-old son to return to their Florida home after killing Pepito
  • The parents did not comment on Chapman's claims

Fugitive Brian Laundrie may have likely covered 22-year-old Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito's mouth until she died, reality television personality Duane Chapman claimed.

Chapman, also known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, believes Laundrie called his parents shortly after killing Pepito. He also claims that Laundrie's parents, Cristopher and Roberta, forced the 23-year-old to rush back to their North Port, Florida home after allegedly killing his fiancée.

"Of course he murdered [Pepito]. I think he called [his] mom and dad right from the scene and said, ‘OMG!'" Chapman, 68, told The Sun

"I think he said, 'Mom, she was screaming, she was screaming so I put my hand over her mouth, and I held my hand and she was screaming and when I took it away she wasn’t breathing and I tried CPR.'"

Chapman, however, did not offer any evidence to his claims. Steven Bertolino, the family's lawyer, also declined to respond to the TV personality's statements. 

Pepito was reported missing on Sept. 11. Laundrie, who returned to Florida from the couple's months-long cross-country van trip alone, went missing two days later on Sept. 13.

Pepito's body was later found at a national park in Wyoming on Sept. 19. The cause of her death was ruled as strangulation, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said at a press conference Tuesday.

The vlogger's body had been in the wilderness for three to four weeks prior to being discovered, which meant she died in mid or late August, according to the Wyoming coroner.

In accordance with a Wyoming statute, no other information about Pepito's autopsy aside from the cause and manner of her death has been released.

Laundrie is currently wanted on fraud-related charges. He has not been charged in connection to Petito's death despite being the primary person of interest in the case.

Authorities have launched manhunts for Brian in Wyoming and Florida's Carlton Reserve, as well as the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina following alleged sightings in both areas. A conspiracy theory claimed Laundrie might be hiding in a bunker located under his parents' garden.

Several parties have offered monetary rewards for any information that can lead to Brian or his arrest. The highest reported so far was the $180,000 pool Petito's family and friends were able to raise, which Chapman contributed $10,000 to.

Gabby Petito, shown here on a police bodycam in Utah, was strangled to death, a coroner has said Gabby Petito, shown here on a police bodycam in Utah, was strangled to death, a coroner has said Photo: Moab City Police Department / Handout