Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Murder of Blake Chappell


Blake Chappell's life was headed in a positive direction during the fall of 2011. The then-17-year-old was adjusting to life in a new town after his family moved to Senoia, Georgia earlier that year. Previously, Blake and his mother Melissa lived in Clayton County. 

Melissa decided to move Senoia after Blake got into a physical altercation with the stepfather of his ex-girlfriend. The incident was tough on Blake, but he was doing seemingly well in Senoia. He quickly made new friends and started dating a new girlfriend. Unfortunately, before Blake's life could continue to flourish, he was brutally murdered. His murder remains unsolved today.

Blake was last seen alive during the early morning hours of October 16th, 2011. The previous evening, Blake attended his high school homecoming dance with his girlfriend, Rion. Blake reportedly had a great time at the dance - he called his mother afterwards to tell her that he had "the best night of his life." 

That phone call was the last time Blake spoke to his mother. Hours later, he vanished. Blake's mother reported him missing that same day. Over two months later, passersby in Summer Grove spotted human remains in a local creek near East Newnan. Those remains were later identified as that of Blake Chappell. 

An autopsy revealed that Blake died from a gunshot wound to the head. His death was labeled a homicide. There are several suspicious circumstances surrounding Blake's case. How did the purported best night of this 16-year-old's life end with his disappearance and murder? This question remains unanswered, but a look at the timeline leading up to Blake's disappearance, amongst other circumstances in Blake's life, may hold the key to solving his case. 
After the school dance.

As noted above, Blake attended his high school homecoming dance with his new girlfriend, Rion, on October 15th, 2011. The two were picked up from the dance by Rion's mother. They then went back to Rion's house where they watched a movie. Around 11:30 PM, Rion's mother drove Blake to his friend Austin's house, where he planned to spend the night. 

Once Blake got to Austin's house, he called his mother to check in. He was happy during their conversation; he told his mother he had a great time at the dance, and it was the best night of his life. 

Blake's disappearance. 

At some point between 2:00 and 3:00 AM, Blake snuck out of Austin's house and walked 3 miles back to Rion's house. He arrived there around 4:30 AM and snuck in through Rion's bedroom window. About half an hour later, one of Rion's relatives caught Blake and Rion together. Knowing he was not supposed to be there, Blake quickly left the residence and began walking back toward Austin's house. 

During his walk, Blake texted with Rion several times. Around 5:30 AM, he sent her a message saying he was stopped by a police officer who asked where he was going. He sent one final text a few minutes later before ceasing all communication. Blake never arrived back at Austin's house and was never heard from again.

Blake's mother, Melissa, was alerted about her son's disappearance around 11:00 AM, after Austin contacted her and said that Blake had left his house and never returned. Melissa reported Blake missing very shortly thereafter.

December 2011: Blake is found deceased.

Extensive searches for Blake ended unsuccessfully. Then, over two months later, passersby in Summer Grove spotted human remains in a local creek near East Newnan. Police were called, and the human remains were later identified as that of Blake Chappell. He died from a gunshot wound to the head. 

After the discovery of Blake's remains, the case shifted to a homicide investigation. 

Who killed Blake?

Blake's body was found wearing only underpants and an undershirt. However, when he left Rion's house on the morning of his disappearance, he was wearing black sweatpants, a white t-shirt and a jacket. None of these clothing items have ever been recovered. 

Additionally, Blake had his cell phone on him when he vanished, but investigators have never found said phone. This initially left detectives with very little to work with while investigating Blake's murder.

As previously mentioned, Blake and his mother moved to Senoia just months before his disappearance. The move was prompted by a physical altercation that occurred between Blake and his ex-girlfriend's stepfather. The ex-girlfriend had reportedly run away to Blake's house, and before Blake could bring her back home, her stepfather showed up. Blake sent a text to his friend about the incident, saying "her dad showed up wit two other guys nd guns tellin all my friends he was gunna kill me". 

Blake would later tell police that the man "punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him in the head." Despite this, Blake was the one who ended up arrested. He was charged with custodial interference, as his ex-girlfriend had run away with the intention of being with Blake. However, the charges were later dropped.

Blake's mother Melissa stated that she wanted to move Blake out of Clayton County after this incident because she was afraid for her son's life. Inevitably, police looked into this man after Blake was found murdered - but various reports say that the man has been cleared as a suspect.

According to uncovered.com, police have cleared three other persons of interest in the case as well. Police have continued to keep details about the investigation under wraps, and at this time, no suspects or persons of interest have been publicly named.

There is currently a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for Blake's death. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Newnan Police Department's Tip Line at (770) 254-2350 or send your tip in an email to unsolvedhomicide@cityofnewnan.org. 

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