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 wife, Beth Chapman.
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.
Included in his list of tragedies are the deaths of his two children and fifth wife. Here’s a glimpse of the star’s departed family members.
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 Friday, May 19, 2006, near Fairbanks, Alaska, the day before the reality star’s wedding.
Barbara seemed to be a troubled young lady who met her end when the stolen SUV she was riding fell off the side of the road and crashed. The 23-year-old was with her friend, Scott Standefer II. 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.”
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 finally landed upside-down.
Before the sad occurrence, the victims were suspected of having used 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.
Barbara was one of Dog’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 watching her son get abused in the hands of his father broke Dog’s heart even more. Luckily, Dog was able to get custody of the boy before things escalated.
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 Dog had no idea of the incident until the early mornings of Saturday. After considering his options, he decided to go ahead with the ceremony.
On what would have been Beth’s 54th birthday, the A&E star paid tribute to his late wife with an Instagram post.
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 Chapman and the lovely guests who came to the wedding.
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 with 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 own show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
Another devastating loss happened 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.
Dog 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 Dog to accept. Still, he shared bits and pieces of their final moments together with the world
‘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,”‘ Dog shared. “‘Big Daddy, you better not let another girl take my place. I said, ‘I won’t.'”
The star remained adamant that there would ever be another woman in his life. Dog narrated her final moments, ‘”[She said] ‘Look at me, Duane Chapman,’ And I did, I always saw Beth, and she said, ‘Please, let me go.’ ‘And I didn’t even make a decision, I almost said, ‘I can’t.'”
However, months after losing his beloved, Dog 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, Beth holds a special place in Dog’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.
He previously also honored her in what would have been their 14th wedding anniversary with an emotional Instagram post alongside their photo.
Most recently, Dog shared yet another post of his late wife, sharing the photos and videos he had of her singing, dancing, and enjoying life to the fullest. Through his memories, Beth remains alive in Dog.