Ashley Blankenship Erdmann has begun trying to learn what happened to her aunt, Nancy Blankenship, who disappeared just before Christmas of 1983 before her remains were discovered a decade later.
Local podcaster Brandon Barnett has spent the past few months trying to decide what cold case would be the subject of the third season of his work, “Searching for Ghosts.”
Their efforts have overlapped as Nancy Blankenship’s unsolved murder case is up next for the podcast, but Barnett says he needs help.
“This case is different because it’s been a longer amount of time since Nancy went missing,” Barnett said. “And we’re running into a lot of dead ends as far as getting people to talk about it, and we’re hoping that anyone who was involved – law enforcement and investigators, family and friends, whomever – will be willing to sit down and talk with me with my recorder going.”
The amount of time isn’t the only difference for Nancy Blankenship’s case compared to the first two cases Barnett examined. This is the first one where remains have been positively been identified, so it’s a confirmed murder case.
The first two seasons focused on Cayce McDaniel, who disappeared after a back-to-school party from her home in Milan in 1996, and Bethany Markowski, whose father said he last saw her when she walked into Old Hickory Mall in Jackson while he napped in his van in the parking lot in 2001. While McDaniel’s case has since had a suspect charged with murder in the last two years, neither McDaniel nor Markowski have been identified as missing or dead.
Nancy Blankenship was the 20-year-old wife of Kenneth Blankenship, and they lived in Lavinia in Carroll County.
According to Sun reports from that time, on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 1983, Kenneth left at 1 p.m. to stop at the post office to mail Christmas cards on his way to work at Porter Cable in Jackson. At 3 p.m., neighbors told investigators he saw Nancy outside feeding their dogs while he was on his way to work, which was also at Porter Cable.
A little after dark that evening, a couple of friends stopped to pick Nancy up to take her to Wednesday night Bible study at her church, Faith Baptist in Humboldt, where her father-in-law, Eugene Blankenship, was pastor. Friends were taking her to church because she had been diagnosed with epilepsy and wasn’t allowed to have a driver’s license. But she never came to the door. They went on to church thinking maybe someone else had picked her up.
After she wasn’t at church, a few members of her family went to the house to check on her. When they walked in, they found the house seemingly undisturbed with her purse and pocketbook sitting in different areas of the living room and kitchen, a pan of brownies burning in the oven and a curling iron still on. Her pocketbook was next to her nearly full bottle of epilepsy medication.
Carroll County Sheriff deputies were called and began investigating, but no leads ever materialized until 10 years later.
On Dec. 19, 1993, two days short of the 10th anniversary of Nancy’s disappearance, two fishermen on the Tennessee River near Decatur County discovered human remains that would be identified weeks later as Nancy Blankenship.
According to articles in The Tennessean from January 1994, findings from the medical examiner included a scar on the bones in her throat, indicating her throat might’ve been slashed if there wasn’t a scar there already. But they also indicated Nancy’s body – 10 years after her death – had been in the water for five years.
“So where was her body for the first five years and why did her killer – or someone – decide to wait that long to put her in the river,” asked Ashley Erdmann, her niece.
Asking for help
Thirty-eight years after Nancy’s disappearance and apparent death, Erdmann and Barnett are looking for answers. And they’re asking for help in getting those answers.
Barnett said some of the investigators have talked some, while others haven’t. Family members who are still alive are mostly unwilling to talk, although Erdmann said some have recently said they will talk to Barnett.
“But we need more, so if anybody reading this and has any insight into what happened that afternoon nearly 40 years ago, it would be very helpful,” Barnett said. “With Cayce and Bethany, we kept running into investigators saying they couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation, and I get that, but I had one person involved in Bethany’s case tell me that and then spoke pretty openly with a national television show answering questions I wanted to ask.
“And I understand that investigators can’t say everything, but surely it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing scenario. Let’s talk and see if this case can get any closer to closure for Nancy’s remaining family members.”
Anyone willing to talk with Barnett can contact him via e-mail at [email protected]
Reach Brandon Shields at [email protected] or at 731-425-9751. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or on Instagram at editorbrandon.
This article originally appeared on Jackson Sun: Local podcaster asking for help in working on cold case
Source : https://news.yahoo.com/local-podcaster-asking-help-working-030036156.html1034