Big Country

Officials: Not enough evidence for arrest in Blankinship murder

Not enough evidence for arrest in Brown County homicide

BROWNWOOD, Texas - There's not enough evidence – at this time – to make an arrest in the Brown County murder of 25-year-old Chantay Blankinship, authorities announced Wednesday in a news release.

"Through our investigation we have cleared several suspects and are currently developing others," the Brown County Sheriff's Office said in the release. "At this time, we do not have sufficient evidence to make an arrest."

Blakinship's mother was disappointed by the news. She said after nearly two months since her daughter's body was found near her Lake Brownwood home, she was hoping for closure.

"It just gets harder by the minute," Catherine McDaniel said. "I mean, you would think it would ease up, but it never does. The crime is still there. I cry alone. Everybody thinks I'm strong, but I'm not strong."

Brown County Sheriff George Caldwell wasn't available for comment.

"It upsets me that we thought we had somebody … and all of a sudden we're at a standstill," McDaniel said.

Despite the disappointing news, Blankinship's stepfather said they will keep fighting for justice.

"We're not giving up until justice is done, and it's our true belief that this is what is going to happen," Steven McDaniel said.

On Tuesday, Caldwell said Wednesday's announcement would focus on DNA results from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.

In June, the sheriff's office asked Brown County commissioners to approve funds to hire the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office to expedite its investigation.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office has been working in conjunction with Texas Rangers in the investigation.

An up to $5,000 reward is being offered for any information related to the homicide. Contact Heart of Texas Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477 or Brown County Sheriff's Office at (325) 646-5510.

Previous story:

The Brown County Sheriff's Office plans to make an announcement Wednesday regarding the two-month-long investigation into 25-year-old Chantay Blankinship's murder. 

Sheriff George Caldwell said the announcement will focus on DNA results from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.

"We should be able to release something [Wednesday]," Caldwell said. "It will deal with the DNA …  It will no doubt lead to a suspect (and) hopefully an arrest and conviction."

In June, the sheriff's office asked Brown County commissioners to approve using funds to hire the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office as part of an effort to expedite its investigation.

Caldwell said he's frustrated to not have identified a suspect because it's "not happening as fast as I would like."

Blankinship's body was found five miles near her Lake Brownwood home on May 15. She was reported missing on May 13th.

The cause of her death was "blunt force trauma," according to the sheriff's department. Caldwell confirmed that deputies did recover the murder weapon.


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