1 year after Lake Brownwood murder, mother still has hope for an arrest
LAKE BROWNWOOD, Texas - A full year has gone by since the body of 26-year-old Chantay Blankinship was found five miles from her Lake Brownwood home. The case remains unsolved, but the Brown County Sheriff's Office and Blankinship's mother still believe an arrest will come soon.
This Mother's Day weighed heavily on Catherine McDaniel, as it marked the first without her daughter.
"I was used to getting that phone call, because she would always wake me up and tell me, 'Happy Mother's Day,'" McDaniel said on Monday.
Blankinship was reported missing to law enforcement on May 13, 2016. Her mother said she disappeared after taking her dog out for a walk around her Lake Brownwood neighborhood of Tamarack Mountain.
PHOTOS OF CHANTAY BLANKINSHIP -} http://www.ktxs.com/ 500205372
Blankinship's body was located on May 15, 2016. McDaniel said she can't have closure until the killer is arrested.
"I will forgive him for what he did, because hatred is not good. But I will not forget what he did," she said.
"I rather the case go unsolved, than we put the wrong person in jail," said Brown County Sheriff Vance Hill, who's leading the murder investigation.
The Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigations are assisting the BCSO in solving this case.
Hill said the agencies helped his office comb through the abandoned property along County Road 424, where search crews discovered Blankinship's body.
The sheriff also explained why the evidence needs to remain private, despite several open records requests filed by KTXS. Hill said the evidence is sensitive, and only investigators and the suspect would know what it is.
"We do have excellent evidence that I hope at some point is going to lead us to the person who killed Chantay," Hill said.
None of the hundreds of tips submitted through CrimeStoppers have materialized into an arrests, but the sheriff said that doesn't mean people should stop sending them.
"Please continue to give us any and every tip that you have," Hill said.
Anyone with a tip is encouraged to call Heart of Texas CrimeStoppers at 800-222-8477. There's a reward of up to $5,000 for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
McDaniel is hoping one day, one of those tips will lead to the imprisonment of the suspect who took her daughter's life away.