Chantay Blankinship known at club for kind, endearing soul


BROWNWOOD, Texas - "It broke my heart," Danny Willingham said, remembering the day he learned of Chantay Blankinship's murder.

Willingham is the Chief Executive Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Brown County, where Blankinship was very active during her teenage years.

"She had a lot of friends because she was very sociable, always smiling, very friendly, very trusting," he said.

On Thursday a Brown County grand jury indicted Ryan Riggs, 21, of capital murder for sexually assaulting and killing Blankinship in May of 2016, according to the 35th Judicial District Clerk's Office.

Riggs confessed last week to investigators with the Brown County Sheriff's Office and a Texas Ranger. He avoided detection from law enforcement for a year and a half, until they released a computerized sketch of him using his DNA.

Brown County Court-at-Law Judge Sam Moss denied Riggs a bond for his capital murder charge. Moss told KTXS Riggs is a flight risk and that the nature of his offense allows him to deny a bond.

Riggs and Blankinship were considered friends, according to family members and law enforcement.

Willingham said Blankinship was kind and had an endearing soul, mentoring other children at the organization.

"She was an older girl that fit in real well a lot of times with younger girls," he said. "And they looked up to her and laughed with her, smiled with her."

But Willingham said schools need to play an active role in teaching children how to spot predators.

"We have to educate our school system [and] our kids that the world is changing," Willingham said.

Riggs denied a request from KTXS to be interviewed at the Brown County Jail.