The Truth About Dog The Bounty Hunter's Children

The following article includes allegations of sexual assault and references to suicide and addiction.

Duane Chapman, otherwise known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, has continued to remain in the public eye, and it's not just because of his ravishing mane of blonde hair. By trade, he's a bounty hunter, and this is, of course, the running theme of his many various reality TV shows. But it's not really his career choice that keeps us hooked. Sure, there's drama on his TV shows, and Duane has amassed a hefty net worth while he's been at it, but that's not it.

It's Duane the man and his intensely busy personal life that keep making headlines. He had a tragic childhood with struggles along the way after surviving an abusive father, per his memoir, "You Can Run But You Can't Hide." It was actually a felony that led Duane to his lifelong passion of working as a bounty hunter, so his personal life clearly informed the professional one. But he's also had an intense relationship history, with several marriages and relationships over the years. Perhaps most famously, his fifth wife, Beth Chapman, died of cancer in June 2019, leaving him devastated. But Duane found love again with his new wife, Francie Frane. While he was delighted with the romantic turn of events, some of his children were not so thrilled, feeling that Francie hasn't been the positive influence on Duane that Beth was.

It's actually Duane's children that we're most interested in here. The bounty hunter has a whopping brood of 12 kids. With them has come a lot of joy but also some heated conflict.

Dog the Bounty Hunter's first son, Christopher Michael Hecht

Duane Chapman's first son, Christopher Michael Hecht, came into this world in July 1969, according to Hollywood Life, but Duane didn't even know he had a son until much later. Christopher's mother was Debbie White, whom Duane dated when they were both teenagers. Tragically, White committed suicide when Christopher was five, according to The U.S. Sun, at which point he was adopted by a woman named Gloria Hecht. When Christopher turned 19, Duane made contact with his son for the first time. "When he learned Duane was his father, he was ecstatic," Gloria told The U.S. Sun. "They started a relationship."

But things didn't stay easy. Allegedly, Duane's then-wife, the late Beth Chapman, had a tough time accepting Christopher into their family dynamic. "Beth didn't get along with Chris because he was a few years younger than her," Gloria said. "She did not treat Chris good and they did not like each other at all." According to Gloria, this impacted Duane's relationship with his son, and there was more friction as the years progressed. Gloria went so far as to accuse Duane of neglecting and "abandoning" his son.

Christopher has had ongoing issues with addiction and legal trouble, including "a 2020 menacing arrest," per The U.S. Sun. At the time of this writing, he's serving a three-year prison sentence with a release date set for November 2023. For Duane's part, his rep spoke to the outlet and said, "I've helped Chris numerous times and will again when he is released from prison."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Duane Lee Chapman II left the family show

Duane Chapman got married for the first time to La Fonda Sue Darnell, and on January 21, 1973, they welcomed a son, appropriately named Duane Lee Chapman II, per The U.S. Sun. Duane Lee grew up in Pampa, Texas, and became a bounty hunter himself, starring alongside his father on the A&E reality show "Dog the Bounty Hunter."

However, Duane Lee ended up leaving the series in 2012, purportedly over a conflict with his dad's wife, Beth Chapman. Beth was clearly more involved in the financial side of things than her husband was, and Duane Lee felt that his financial compensation didn't match how much work he was putting into the series. Beth told Channel Guide Magazine in 2013, "Children grow up — and how long can you work for your mom and dad? You become 40 years old and you're not married and you're like, 'Why am I still hanging around my dad?' You know what I mean? At some point, you feel like there's got to be changes made."

As a result, Duane Lee launched his own bail bond company in Florida, per Yahoo TV. Of all of the Chapman children, Duane Lee might be one of the most private. Since exiting the show, he deactivated his social media, and there are scant details available about his personal life. He married Teresa R. Roybal in 1999, according to The U.S. Sun, but they divorced in 2008. While they didn't have any kids, Duane Lee has a son, Dylan Chapman, from before his marriage.

Leland Blane Chapman might love his dad most

Duane Chapman and La Fonda Sue Darnell welcomed their second child, Leland Blane Chapman, on December 14, 1976, per The U.S. Sun. Leland joined Duane in the family business: the happy combination of bounty hunting and reality TV.

In 2012, Leland stepped away from the show at the same time his brother Duane Lee did. However, Leland reconciled with his father and Beth Chapman, and he appeared on their spinoff series, "On the Hunt," in 2013. Beth spoke to Channel Guide Magazine about the reunion. "The focal point of the show is our relationship — and our relationship with Leland," she began. "Because Leland wants to stay with his dad. Duane says this really profound thing where he says, 'I don't love you more, son. But you probably love me more than any of the other kids.'" Beth added of Leland, "[H]e doesn't want to be the one to leave or go away. He wants to be the one staying right here."

Father and son have stayed united. In August 2019, Leland shared a post on Instagram notifying fans that he and his dad would be appearing together at an event. Then, in October 2021, Leland was a guest on News Channel 11, where he discussed his father's involvement in the search for Brian Laundrie following the death of Gabby Petito. Leland was in Tennessee and couldn't help because of his own caseload, but he was in close contact with his dad. Clearly, they're two peas in a pod.

Zebadiah Chapman: gone too soon

Duane Chapman had a rough go of things for a while. After he and La Fonda Sue Darnell had their two sons, Duane served time in the ​​Texas State Penitentiary for a first-degree murder charge. While he was behind bars, his wife divorced him and ended up marrying his best friend at the time, according to ET. Duane then married Anne M. Tengell in 1979, per Page Six, and the two welcomed their first child together, Zebadiah Chapman, on January 1, 1980. Tragically, he died less than a month later, on January 31. 

Duane's late sister, Jolene Kay Rodriguez, revealed on the Find a Grave website that Zebadiah had been born "many months prematurely" and "lived far beyond what medical science said he would."

Duane has lost several people very close to him throughout his life. When his wife, Beth Chapman, died years later, he spoke about the shock of it. "You're never ever prepared. You can't prepare. There's no way," he said to ET. "I did not know this was going to happen that day." Back in 1980, Duane was not yet a reality star, and so we have no comments from him at the time of his grief, but the shock of losing his son so soon must have been akin to the pain he felt in losing Beth.

Wesley Chapman followed a different career path

Duane Chapman and his then-wife, Ann Tegnell, had another son, Wesley Chapman, who was born on November 14, 1980, per The U.S. Sun. While it seems to be the Chapman family tradition to join the world of bounty hunting, Wesley went his own way. He and his wife, Jodie Chapman, run Chapman Springs Ranch in northern Idaho, which specializes in Skijorking. For the uninitiated, Skijorking is the combination of horseback riding and skiing. "I love horseback riding and skiing! I have been doing both for over 30 years. Being able to combine the two is amazing," Wesley said on his website.

But when it comes to his relationship with his father, Wesley has had a bumpier ride. In September 2019, Wesley shared an Instagram photo of himself with his father and podcaster Dax Shepard. The caption described Wesley's relationship with Duane, indicating that his dad wasn't a part of his life growing up. "First of all...there's my dad," Wesley writes. "A man I never knew for 38 years. Yet there he stands by my side with God giving us a second chance to reconnect." Wesley went on to talk about what it means to him to be reconnected to his father: "Having my dad in my life has been a dream." Wesley also admitted it was "a journey to get here." But both seemed happy to be reunited.

Duane and Tegnell welcomed another son in 1982: James Robert Chapman, per The U.S. Sun. There's limited information on him, as he appears to be extremely private.

Duane Chapman grieves Barbara Katie Chapman

Duane Chapman's third marriage was to Lyssa Rae Brittain, and they had a daughter, Barbara Katie Chapman, on June 8, 1982, per The U.S. Sun. Information about her early life is limited, but she had a son, Travis Drake-Lee, in 2002.

Tragically, Barbara died in May 2006 at age 23. She was in a "stolen SUV," 9 News reports, with Scott Standefer II, the driver at the time of the accident. Prior to the tragedy, she and Standefer attempted to use a stolen credit card at a resort near Fairbanks, Alaska. "There is no clue as to why they left the roadway," state trooper Jeremy Stone told the outlet. "There are absolutely no skid marks on the road. They just went off the road, hit an embankment and launched."

"(Barbara) had gotten herself into a terrible mess," her mother, Lyssa Chapman, said to Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (via 9 News). "She was trying as hard as she could to put her life back together." As such, troopers considered that alcohol or illicit substances may have been a factor in the tragedy. Barbara died the night before Duane's wedding to Beth Smith, and he considered postponing the nuptials in light of the event. However, the family opted to go through with the wedding and honor Barbara at the event. 

Like Barbara, Gabby Petito was in her early 20s when she was killed, so Duane had his late daughter on his mind when he joined the hunt for Petito's killer. "I know what the victims feel like," he told Fox News.

Tucker Dee Chapman faces legal troubles

Duane Chapman and his then-wife, Lyssa Rae Chapman, had another son, Tucker Dee Chapman, on September 8, 1983, per The U.S. Sun. Throughout his life, Tucker has had a tumultuous relationship with the law. In 2007, he was arrested on charges of armed robbery when he was 18 years old and slapped with a prison sentence of around two decades. However, after four years, Tucker "was released on parole."

Duane mentioned how this looms large over Tucker's life. "He's on parole for a 20-year sentence and if he messes up he goes back," Duane said during a 2007 "Larry King Live" interview while explaining why he can sometimes hover over his son.

Tucker's younger sister, Lyssa Rae, who has the same name as her mother, shares this same concern for her brother. In August 2020, Lyssa posted a photo of herself and Tucker on Instagram, per The U.S. Sun, with the caption: "Please say a prayer for my brother. Miss and love TUCKER CHAPMAN." Among several hashtags, she added, "#MyBrothersKeeper." Lyssa has since deleted the post, which garnered comments and concern from fans, without clarifying where Tucker was or why she was missing him.

Tucker doesn't have a huge presence on social media, but from what we've gathered on Instagram, he's a dog lover and spends a lot of time out in nature. While Duane clearly wants to help his son, the two have had a tumultuous relationship.

Tucker Chapman sells a tape of his dad

Tucker Chapman and his father hit a rough patch in 2007. Duane Chapman appeared to have issues with a woman Tucker was dating at the time, and, in March of that year, the bounty hunter called his son and used several racial slurs when speaking about Tucker's Black partner. Unbeknownst to Duane, Tucker had recorded the conversation and sold the recording to The National Enquirer.

As a result, A&E halted the programming of Duane's reality show for one year, per The U.S. Sun. In November 2007, he appeared on "Larry King Live" to address the situation. He began by apologizing and then explained why he got heated on the phone call, which had to do with Tucker's parole and concerns about his son's relationship. "So when Tucker got out, I immediately, you know, started being the dad I wasn't and said, you know, do this, do that," Duane told King. "And I tried to take control of his life."

When King asked if Duane and Tucker had been in contact, Duane replied, "No, he will not talk to me. ... his mother is in on it with him." Later in the interview, Duane added of his ex-wife, "I've been away from her since the '80s, so now she's like getting even." He then said of Tucker, "All I want him to know is that I love him very much."

Lyssa Rae Chapman's entrepreneurial spirit

The third child that Duane Chapman and his ex-wife Lyssa Rae Chapman share is daughter Lyssa Rae Chapman, who is, clearly, named after her mother. Lyssa was born on June 10, 1987, per The U.S. Sun. Like some of her older siblings, Lyssa followed in her dad's bounty hunting footsteps and appeared on several of the family's TV shows. In fact, in her author bio, Lyssa states that she was "the youngest licensed bail bondsperson in Hawaii" at the age of 18. So she certainly had the cred to appear on "Dog the Bounty Hunter," as well as "Dog and Beth: On the Hunt." She even appeared in the TV series "Hawaii Five-0," per her IMDb credits.

So that people don't confuse her with her mother, Lyssa goes by "Baby Lyssa" and, fittingly, has a clothing line called "Baby by Lyssa Chapman," where she sells comfy clothes, beachwear, and a "Mini-Me Collection" for young girls. Lyssa has two daughters, Abbie Mae Chapman and Madalynn Grace Galanti. Lyssa had Abbie when she was 15 years old. Abbie's father was 24 at the time and was subsequently "arrested for statutory rape," per a later report by The U.S. Sun. Lyssa married Madalynn's father, Brahman Bo Galanti, but they divorced in 2011. In 2016, Lyssa started a relationship with Leiana Evensen, and the two got engaged in 2017. As of this writing, it doesn't look like wedding bells have rung yet, but by all accounts, the two seem happy and in love.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Lyssa Chapman's bombshell memoir

By the look of things, Lyssa Chapman still seems close with her father, Duane Chapman. For example, in the fall of 2021, when Duane put his bounty hunting skills to the test in the search for Brian Laundrie, Lyssa was very involved on social media, acting as a liaison between fans and her father. "Dad is headed back to Colorado temporarily to handle some business," Lyssa tweeted. "(Remember, he was in Florida on his honeymoon) We are still actively searching for [Brian Laundrie], leaving a team in place in Florida. As always, whatever I can share with you, I will." That certainly indicates close communication with her dad. 

However, their relationship has a choppy history. In 2013, Lyssa published her memoir, "Walking on Eggshells: Discovering Strength and Courage Amid Chaos," where she exposed her less-than-ideal childhood. That same year, Lyssa spoke with Fox News about the themes in her book. She claimed that Duane was addicted to crack while her mother, Lyssa Chapman, was an active alcoholic and that Duane's late wife, Beth Chapman, was tough to be around. "I [falsely] accused my father of raping me when I was 11," Lyssa said. "I had been molested by a friend of his. It was a horrible life that I never wanted to go back to, living with him and Beth and the fighting and the drugs." It was because of this false accusation, Lyssa claimed, that she felt she couldn't go to her dad for help when she was a teen mom.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Drama with Bonnie Joanne Chapman

Beth Chapman married Duane Chapman in 2006 after beginning a relationship in 1995, per ET. They welcomed their first child together, Bonnie Joanne Chapman, on December 16, 1998, per The U.S. Sun. Bonnie is an influencer on social media and shares sponsored content on Instagram related to skincare and makeup. She's also a star on "The System," a TV series by Unleashed Entertainment that focuses on social injustice.

While this is very good, she's had a rocky relationship with her father, especially after her mom passed away from lung cancer in 2019. Duane remarried Francie Frane in September 2021, and the nuptials caused an ongoing conflict between Bonnie and the couple. Bonnie accused her father of both racism and infidelity towards the late Beth on Facebook. "I'm sorry, but I can't defend my Dad's racism," Bonnie wrote, later adding, "I have expressed time and time again my ever-growing disappointment in my father's progression into his old racist ways."

"I had forgiven my father after my mother's death for countless actions that I shouldn't have," Bonnie went on. "He would cheat on my mom all the time, and I hated him every time he did it, but I forgave him for that because I wanted a relationship with my dad. I thought I had only one parent left. I was left with the racist and homophobic [parent]." Bonnie did not attend the wedding and claimed that she was not invited. 

Garry Chapman is close with his dad

Duane and Beth Chapman welcomed their second child, Garry Chapman, on February 7, 2001, per The U.S. Sun. Garry was raised in Hawaii and later moved to Colorado. In terms of a career path, Garry has entered law enforcement and shares candid photos of his work life with his fans on Instagram. "We've got [a] great group of guys who have each other's back, watch out for one another, and motivate each other," Garry captioned one photo of several of his colleagues with his dad.

Garry and Duane appear to have a very close relationship. The youngest of Duane's brood often shares photos of his father on social media, writing in the caption of one, "Anyone can give up it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it [together] when everyone else would understand if you fall apart, that's true strength." Clearly, he thinks highly of his dad.

Garry made headlines in June 2020 after he had an accident while riding a four-wheeler. He suffered an injury to his head and wound up in the ER. In an interview the day after the accident, Duane's now-wife, Francie Frane, said that it was her son, Greg, and his wife who were at Garry's side in the hospital. They dropped him off and took him home, per The U.S. Sun. "They're taking care of him now. What they're building is so [great]." It's wonderful to see the two families getting close.

Dog the Bounty Hunter adopted Cecily Barmore-Chapman

When Duane Chapman married Beth Chapman, he adopted her daughter, Cecily Barmore-Chapman, who was born on June 19, 1993, per The U.S. Sun. Of all things, Beth had married a long-time friend of Duane's named Keith Barmore in 1991. The two men went back to childhood, and when Duane found out about the marriage, he was devastated.

"When I heard they got married, I got physically sick," Duane wrote in his book "You Can Run But You Can't Hide." It wasn't just jealousy that made the bounty hunter so upset. Barmore was, by Duane's account, a drug addict and abusive towards Beth. "When I heard [Barmore] was beating on her, I wanted to kill him myself," Duane added.

However, there was one blessing that came from Beth's first marriage: Cecily. "The only good thing that came from their union was Beth's beautiful daughter, Cecily, who I love and adore as if she were my own flesh and blood," he wrote. Clearly, Duane took the adoption seriously.

Later, Cecily faced some legal drama after she was accused of physically assaulting her boyfriend in 2021. She was arrested in Hawaii after police officers received a call relating to domestic violence, per TMZ, but no charges were filed. Cecily told TMZ that it was an "altercation where a man struck me and said vile things about the memory of my dead mother." She added, "If you put your hands on Cecily Chapman you will get your a** kicked."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Duane Chapman's ongoing conflict with Cecily and Bonnie

Duane Chapman's marriage to Francie Frane caused some rifts with some of his children, especially daughters Cecily and Bonnie Chapman, both of whom were Beth Chapman's daughters. They claim that Duane didn't step up as the father they needed when Beth died. "When my mom passed away, my dad pretty much neglected us," Cecily told Inside Edition in September 2021. "He lost his wife. I lost my mother. I lost my life. I lost my house. I lost my job. I lost everything. We lost everything."

"He's in puppy dog love, and that's fine," Cecily went on. "I want him to be happy. Of course I want him to move on, but neglecting his life and who he is and his family and his daughters — it's gross."

Cecily spoke to The U.S. Sun too, prior to her dad's wedding, claiming that she wasn't invited. "I'm assuming that he thinks I wouldn't want to be there. I didn't even know there was a date until The Sun did a story about it," she said. Cecily noted that she had never been introduced to Francie but was willing to be persuaded to go to the wedding, saying of Duane, "He is still my dad."

Duane did release a statement in light of this pushback, saying, "Family has always been, and will continue to be, important to Dog and Francie and for anyone to suggest otherwise is untrue." By his account, he's still a family man through and through.