Sheriff: Brownwood man confesses in church to killing Chantay Blankinship

BROWNWOOD, Texas - The Brown County Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in the murder of Chantay Blankinship. It comes 18 months to the day after she was found beaten to death near her Lake Brownwood home.

Brown County Sheriff Vance Hill says Ryan Derek Riggs, 21, confessed to a church Wednesday night and then to the sheriff's office and Texas Ranger Jason Shea.


Riggs is charged with capital murder and illegal dumping. No bond has been set on the capital murder charge.

Blankinship was killed in May 2016. Just last week, a new break came in a composite profile of a suspect based on DNA. Sheriff's investigators say they got a tip that Riggs may be the suspect after that profile was released, BCSO told the Brownwood Bulletin.

"We caught him! We got Chantay’s killer behind bars," said Chantay's mother, Michelle McDaniel, on Facebook Live as she broke down in tears.

RELATED: Parents of Brownwood murder victim cry when talking about arrest of her alleged killer

According to Hill, Riggs told the congregation at North Lake Community Church Wednesday night that he was responsible for Blankinship's death. A church representative then contacted BCSO and Riggs' parents drove him to the Brown County Law Enforcement Center, where he made the confession.

"It breaks my heart because this man went to church with her and he’s just a kid himself," said McDaniel."

Riggs and his parents attend North Lake Community Church. Chantay sang in the choir. Her funeral was held there and the church held a candle light vigil on the anniversary of her death. 

"We got justice for Chantay and that’s what we wanted," said Steven McDaniel, Chantay's stepfather. "She can't be replaced. But we got somebody off the streets. I hope he fries."

The Brown County Sheriff's Office is holding a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. We will carry it live on KTXS,, the KTXS app and Facebook.

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