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Police investigating potential weapon in Lake Brownwood homicide

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LAKE BROWNWOOD, Texas - The Brown County Sheriff's Office possesses the weapon that they believe killed Rhonda Chantay Blankinship.

Brown County Sheriff George Caldwell said they're running forensics on the weapon, but they refuse to release what the weapon is. According to previous reports, Blankinship was killed by blunt force trauma.

"No, we can't get into that at this time. It's key to our investigation," Caldwell said.

Blankinship's body was sent to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy last week, but Caldwell said they don't have the preliminary autopsy report.

"We don't have [the preliminary autopsy report], we have a verbal report that was given to us during the autopsy," Caldwell said.

KTXS reached out to Carol Lawson, spokesperson for the medical examiner's office, and she said both the sheriff and Brown County Justice of the Peace Mike Holder should already have it.

Last week, KTXS contacted Holder for a copy of the preliminary autopsy report, but he denied having it. KTXS has filed an open records request with Holder, the sheriff's office, and both the Brown and Tarrant County District Attorney's offices.

Caldwell said they also haven't located Blankinship's cell phone.

"The phone that was with her when she disappeared is missing, we have not found it," he said. "Anybody would information on that, it would greatly help us."

Blankinship's body was discovered May 16 five miles away from her Lake Brownwood home. She was reported missing on May 14.

Members of the Thunderbird Bay, Tamarack Mountain, and Harbor Point home owners associations have come together and collected money for a $4,000 reward.

"She would not in any way get close to a stranger," said President of the Thunderbird Bay Home Owners Association Larry Harding. "So for somebody to do this is beyond comprehension really."

Harding said the reward will be given to the person who provides the Heart of Texas Crime Stoppers with a tip leading to an arrest and conviction. Those with information should call them at 800-222-8477.

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