FOX NEWS - Duane “Dog” Chapman is honoring the memory of his late wife Beth Chapman the only way he knows how — by catching bad guys.
The 66-year-old bounty hunter is launching a new series on WGN America titled “Dog’s Most Wanted,” where he handpicks fugitives from various “Most Wanted” lists across the country to track them down and bring them to justice. Chapman is joined by his team of hunters or “The Dirty Dozen,” along with Beth during the final months of her life.
Beth passed away in June at the age 51 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Chapman told Fox News that Beth didn’t think twice about sharing her private ordeal with audiences.
“I freaked out at some of the stuff she showed,” Chapman admitted. “I’m like ‘Honey, are you sure?’ She said, ‘Absolutely.’ Her goal was to beat this thing and to show people how to do it. Of course, she didn’t, cancer won, but she wanted to show her fans, her family and everybody what to do if something like this should happen to them. I was amazed at some of the stuff she showed the camera.”
Beth was first diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer in November 2017. She underwent successful surgery, but doctors told her months later the cancer had returned. Although she began chemotherapy last December, Chapman told Us Weekly at the time that she wanted to explore alternative therapies instead.
In April, she was admitted to a hospital in Hawaii with “serious breathing issues,” but recovered. In June, she was rushed again to the ER and placed in a medically induced coma. Sources told TMZ that Beth was having trouble breathing due to her throat cancer and described the incident as a “choking emergency.”
Chapman said that despite Beth’s health deteriorating, she was determined to be by her family’s side, further building their bounty business.
“When I first started dating Beth about 31 years ago, I had a skinhead break my nose,” Chapman recalled. “I cuffed him and I was in his face calling him names and he head-butted me — I’ve learned not to call names or get in a skinhead’s face since then. But I came home… She’s like, ‘Oh my God.’ Blood everywhere. Of course, the old saying was, what does the other guy look like? I go, ‘Listen, pretty bad.’ She’s like, ‘Sure.’ She went with me to the next bust.”
“She wanted to be there all the time to make sure the stories I told her were true,” Chapman continued. “She would not let me go anywhere by myself ever. She hung with me… I think out of the 30 plus years, there were maybe seven to eight days when we were apart during something--oh, when I was in jail in Mexico. That was the longest we were ever apart. Her being right by my side...was Beth and she wasn’t going to let cancer stop that. She was going out there with the family and with me.”
While Chapman is still grieving the loss of his beloved life, he said the show must go on. Since becoming a bounty hunter, Chapman has captured more than 5,000 fugitives and has been involved in several well-publicized hunts, including the search for UFC fighter War Machine, as well as escapees from the Dannemora Prison break in 2013.
“We’re using a lot of sophisticated equipment to capture the fugitives now, and we’re also training a lot of different law enforcement that sees us how we’re doing it,” explained Chapman. "It’s a challenge, to be able to capture [these criminals], but once you do, it’s more of a reward. Deep down inside you feel like you did a very good. That’s what it’s all about, the good guy versus the bad guy.”
“[And] it’s in our blood,” continued Chapman about the series. “We just love it. We love to do this. I’m so happy and I’m so proud. I love to entertain people and make them cry and laugh. It’s just in my DNA.”
In 2003, “Dog the Bounty Hunter” originally premiered on A&E, launching the couple into reality TV stardom.
After several years together building their bail and bounty business, Duane proposed to Beth in 2005 in Las Vegas, where they almost tied the knot but were too late to the courthouse. They ended up marrying in May 2006, but the wedding was bittersweet: The day before their big day, Duane's daughter, Barbara Katy Chapman, died in a car accident near her Alaska home.
As for what made them finally marry, Chapman wrote in his book "Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given:" "Our youngest children had begun to ask us why we weren't married, and Beth was being referred to as my 'life partner' or 'sidekick.' Those descriptions weren't fair to her, either. In my heart, I always knew Beth would be my forever wife. It was time to make it official."
Chapman previously told Fox News of his wife's cancer battle, "Faith is probably the No. 1 thing in our lives, no matter what we’re faced with ... Through this cancer episode, we had to drum up as much faith as we could."
"And the Bible talks about having faith as small as a mustard seed," he said. "And that’s not much ... And I thank God that we had at least that much faith to get her through that."
Beth is survived by Chapman, their children Bonnie Jo and Garry, her daughter Cecily, several grandchildren and a great-grandson, as well as son Dominic Davis from a prior relationship.