Blake Tyler Chappell (Unsolved Homicide)
Alternative Name: Unknown
La Apoda: Desconocido
Nombres alternativos: Desconocido
Missing from: East Newnan, Georgia, United States
Date Missing: October 15, 2011 (Saturday)
Date Recovered: December 19, 2011 (Monday)
Falta de: East Newnan, Georgia, Estados Unidos
Falta en la fecha: 15 de octubre de 2011 (sábado)
El día que fue encontrado: 19 de diciembre de 2011 (lunes)
Blake is described by both friends and family as a cheerful and uplifting young man; easily sharing his friendly, funny, and out-going personality with those around him. Exploring his future as a young teenager, Blake was starting to establish himself as his own man. His enthusiasm for music is well cemented and he was active in several individual sports, including riding his dirt bike on local trails and skateboarding around the area. He had secretly expanded his style with a small tattoo hidden on his chest and a daring lip piercing, but otherwise had been fairly mainstream in his life so far. Having struggled with money in the past, Blake had his hands in various money-making projects ranging from reselling Monster drinks at school to saving soda cans to earn money for his dirt bike.
Significantly, Blake had begun exploring his relationship with the opposite sex and had recently come out of a somewhat difficult relationship. Earlier in May 2011, Blake and his mother, Melissa Becker, were living in Clayton County, an area that encompassed the southern neighborhoods of Atlanta, Georgia.
While there, Blake became entangled in a custody dispute when his then-girlfriend got into an argument with her mother and ran away from home. She came to Blake for help and he attempted to convince her to return to her family and eventually they were riding on his bicycle to find a way to contact her mother.
Unfortunately, her stepfather found the two first and the situation deteriorated rapidly. The exact details of the situation are unclear, but it appears her armed step-father had been on the hunt for Blake and the girl, issuing death threats directed towards Blake. He arrived with two other men, armed with a gun. He then assaulted Blake, punching him and kicking him in the head, before taking the girl in his vehicle. The assault was terrifying for Blake and left him with a possible concussion (he couldn’t afford to have it seen at a hospital) and signs of selective mutism when he was frightened or in stressful situations (Link).
In a somewhat surprising chain of events, instead of charging the step-father with assault, police charged Blake with custody interference as an adult. The sixteen year old girl’s parents accused Blake of kidnapping her, and at seventeen he was considered an adult. Although the information cannot be confirmed, an individual posted on Reddit claiming to be Blake’s mother and discussing her suspicions about the incident:
Blake did spend a couple of weeks in jail before being released on bond and a trial was set for October 24, a few days after he disappeared. The result of the case was ultimately that the prosecution dropped the charges after the girl agreed to stay home and the step-father agreed to leave Blake alone. Whether or not the step-father had connections with local police is difficult to prove, but the situation did create a stir and raise questions amongst the public as to his or police involvement when Blake disappeared that October.
In the meantime, Blake and his mother relocated to Senoia, Georgia in the summer of 2011, where they lived with her then-boyfriend. They had cut ties with Clayton County due to the threats issued against Blake and concerns of continued retaliation. Blake was now dating a new girl, Rion Cameron, from the neighboring town of Newnan, and trying to make a new start. He was excited to focus on his new friends and school and try to put his concerns about the upcoming trial to the side.
As the fall of 2011 began to extend its touch over both temperatures and leaves, homecoming night was approaching for Blake’s high school with the promise of a night to remember. October 15th dawned with excitement and enthusiasm as students at East Coweta High School began dressing it up and making plans for their before- and after-party meetups. Blake had arranged to attend the dance with Rion before ending the night sleeping over at his new friend Austin Harmon’s home in Newnan. This would be the first time since the assault that Blake spent the night away from home, but he promised his mother that he wouldn’t leave the house. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” (Robert Burns).
Before launching into this tale, it is important to understand how the key locations in this story were laid out. In the olden days of yore, rural towns tended to develop relatively near to one another, often within a day’s ride by horse (avg. 10 miles or so apart). Because many of these small villages aren’t large enough to host their own schools, it is not uncommon to have the regional schools based in a central area from which kids come from the neighboring towns to attend.
In this case, Blake and his mother Melissa were living in Senoia, a town slightly west of Sharpsburg where he attended East Coweta High School. Many of the events in this article however took place in a town called Newnan that lies still yet slightly further east and where Blake’s best friend and girlfriend both lived.
Blake and his girlfriend were in frequent contact throughout the day as he stopped by a mall with his mom to pick up a tie that matched Rion’s gown. Blake had chosen to wear a classic black and white ensemble other than the brief splash of color from his tie.
Eventually, he was ready to impress as Melissa dropped him off at Rion’s home. Rion’s mother (Shannon) drove the pair to a local Japanese steakhouse at about 5:30pm (17:30) and then picked them up again at around 7:00pm (19:00) to head towards the high school.
The party kicked off as the kids enjoyed themselves dancing and taking pictures of their joyful memories together throughout the night. Blake and Rion both had a wonderful time and Blake would call his mother afterwards gushing about how much he enjoyed the evening.
“He called and he said, ‘mom, I had so much fun, it was the best day of my life, I got to hang out with my friends and dance.'” . . . . “He ended the call with “I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow””Melissa Becker, Mother (Source) (Source)
Eventually, they wore themselves out and Shannon returned to pick Black and Rion up and drive them back to Newnan at approximately 10:30pm (22:30). The couple spent an hour or so watching television before it was time for them to call it a night. Shannon drove Blake to Austin’s house at about 11:30pm (23:30), Blake accidentally leaving his dress shirt behind at the Cameron home.
Timeline (October 15)
- 5:30pm (17:30) — Blake and Rion have dinner at Tokyo’s Steakhouse in Newnan
- 7:00pm (19:00) — Blake and Rion are driven to East Coweta High School
- 10:30pm (22:30) — Shannon brings Blake and Rion to the Cameron home in Newnan
- 11:30pm (23:30) — Shannon drives Blake to Austin Harmon’s home in Newnan
It was at this point that Blake called his mother and confirmed that he had arrived at Austin’s and would be staying there for the night. He was not supposed to leave, but it seems the excitement of the night had left him and his friends still awake into the early hours the next morning.
Blake and Austin walked to a nearby BP gas station but found it closed and returned to Austin’s home. They then proceeded to chat with each other and friends on the phone for some time. At some point around 2:00am – 3:00am the following morning, Blake headed back out into the night, walking back towards Rion’s home. At this point he was wearing boxers, a white undershirt, black pants, and a white t-shirt. According to Austin, he had borrowed a jacket and was also carrying a spare key to Austin’s home for when he returned. He apparently left behind a black backpack containing some personal health items (e.g., deodorant), a pocket knife, and the charger for his phone.
His route would take him from Austin’s home in the Summer Grove division near Highwoods Parkway to Rion’s home on Avondale Circle along Vanderbilt Parkway. Though his exact path is unknown, the usual trip was about 3miles, which would take around an hour on foot. Many believe that he would have taken the Lower Fayetteville route shown below rather than the Summer Grove Parkway which he was not necessarily familiar with. But the true path is simply not known.
Blake reached Rion’s home at about 4:30am according to her testimony and crept into her bedroom window to hang out with her for a while longer. She recalls that it was bitterly cold that morning and Blake was thoroughly chilled when he arrived. At this point, she recalls that he did not have Austin’s jacket on (or apparently with him) and instead he was wearing a white hoodie with Aeropostale in brown lettering (a shirt Austin said he wasn’t wearing when he left). The hoodie was originally in his backpack, but it is not clear how he got it without Austin realizing.
According to Rion, the two discussed the night before and talked about their plans for meeting again at 11:30am later that day. Blake was not supposed to be in her room at that time so when Rion’s grandmother walked in on the two, Rion agreed he should leave and he headed back out towards Austin’s at about 5:00am.
Knowing that he and Rion are in trouble, Blake began texting both her and her mother to apologize for the unauthorized meet-up. Shannon let him know that it would be okay, but he was still texting Rion apologizing as he walked home.
At approximately 5:30am, Blake notified Rion that he was near a bridge but a police officer had just pulled over to speak with him. Although there is no evidence to prove this, it is likely that he would have been near the bridge over White Oak Creek at this time. He then texted her again a few moments later to say the officer had looked at his identification and then moved on. He then sent her another message complaining about how cold it was outside; he was never heard from again.
The precise events that followed between between leaving his girlfriend’s home and Austin’s where he should have arrived is a question that remains unanswered more than two decades later.
Timeline (October 16)
- 2:00am — Blake texts Rion’s that he is headed her way
- 2:00am – 3:00am — Blake leaves Austin’s wearing his jacket and a white t-shirt
- 4:30am — Blake arrives at Rion’s wearing a white hoodie
- 5:00am — Blake and Rion are caught in her room alone and Blake starts walking back to Austin’s
- 5:30am — Blake texts Rion that he is pulled over by a police officer. The officer apparently leaves and Blake sends his final text. He is not heard from again.
According to Shannon, she and her husband stayed in bed until she got up around 6:30am to speak with Rion. Shannon and Rion had tried messaging Blake after his final text but became concerned when they did not hear from him by mid-morning. Shannon’s husband (Matt) left the home around 8:00 with a friend to work on setting up hunting land they were leasing in Heard County. He did not have a weapon with him at the time.
At 9:30am, Rion tried calling Austin to see if Blake was still at his home. Austin was still in bed but got up to see if Blake was in the house. When Austin couldn’t locate Blake either, Shannon, Rion, Matt, and Austin all began searching the neighborhoods for a trace of him or his route.
Finally, at approximately 11:00am, Austin notified police that Blake was missing and Blake’s family was notified by 11:30am.
The family filed a missing person’s report the same day and a search went into effect as law enforcement launched a missing person’s investigation. Unfortunately, the following weeks brought forth no new information and no sign of where Blake might have gone.
There were several potential sightings but none that police could confirm (Link):
- Employee at that BP Station in Summer Grove said he saw a person fitting the description at approximately 7:30am when he asked about their opening hours. When told it would not open until 8:00am, the person walked away.
- Sighting at the Dave and Buster’s on Newnan Station Drive.
- Sighting at a QuickTrip along Highway 34.
Approximately five weeks after Blake disappeared, Melissa received a phone call where the person on the other line sat there, refusing to speak. The call lasted several minutes, and Blake’s mother could hear background sounds but no voices. She still wonders if this call was related to Blake’s kidnapper(s) (Link).
The initial investigation was also hindered by concerns that Blake might have run away due to concerns over the upcoming court case he was facing.
Two months after he disappeared, on the afternoon of December 19, people walking along the Summer Grove Parkway were passing the bridge over White Oak Creek when they made a heartbreaking discovery. They called 911 and police arrived soon after. A few days later the tragic news was made public — Blake had been found face down in the creek, deceased and unclothed except for his white undershirt, boxers, and his lip piercing. The cause of death was homicide via a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Over the years since Blake was killed, law enforcement has kept a tight lid on details related to the case, leaving much of the story unknown.
They were not able to locate Blake’s clothing and belongings (e.g., his phone, identification, and wallet) and they remain missing today leaving physical evidence difficult to uncover.
Police investigated Blake’s phone records but have not discussed any efforts made to triangulate a location. It is unclear from Blake’s text whether the person was speaking with was in uniform / in a marked car or if the person was in regular clothes but told him they were a police officer. Law Enforcement claims they do not believe any of the officers from their agency had a record of interacting with Blake although they have remained vague on how in-depth they investigated this lead (Link). There is some question as to how extensively the searched police officers who were in the area beyond confirming that no one reported the interaction.
Blake’s movements were seemingly unplanned and unexpected, making premeditation difficult to comprehend. He did not tell anyone the route he was taking as far as police have found and the only person he was speaking with that morning was Rion and her mother. There are only a limited number of people who would be outside at 5:00am on a cold, winter morning driving around with time to kill. Certainly city, county, or state officers would fit into that category.
In any case, there are no known suspects at this time or at least none the police have made public. Two persons of interest (identities unknown) were cleared by police and a third cannot be placed in the area at the time of Blake’s disappearance. It is not clear if the step-father of Blake’s ex-girlfriend was cleared although some sources suggested so. If he was, it is not public as to how they confirmed his alibi. Police have currently issued a $20,000 reward for information that leads to Blake’s killer'(s) arrest and conviction.
Police say that there was some decomposition (suggesting an earlier death), but the time of death was not pinpointed with any known accuracy. The time of death listed on his death certificate was 6:00a.m. on Dec. 16, 2011 which would be when he disappeared. Although the precise timing is possibly off, this would seem to suggest they believe killed relatively quickly rather than this being an abduction case that turned into murder. How close they were able to get to a precise date is unknown.
Although they acknowledge he was killed by someone firing at close range, police have only said that the caliber was between a .22 and a .45 and was not a shotgun. They said the weapon was not a shotgun. They have not named any injuries other than the gunshot wound.
“He always looked at the best in people,” she said. “He loved people. His friends were so very important to him. I don’t think he ever had an enemy in his life.”Melissa Becker, Mother (Source)
- Date of Birth: February 7, 1994
- Age: 17
- Ethnicity: Caucasian
- Nationality: United States
- Gender at Birth: Male
- Hair: Light red-brown
- Eye Color: Blue
- Height: 5’8″
- Weight: 120lbs
- Languages Spoken: English
- Fecha de Nacimiento: 7 de febrero de 1994
- Años: 17
- Etnia: Caucásico
- Nacionalidad: Estados Unidos
- Sexo al nacer: Masculino
- Cabello: Marrón rojizo
- Color de los ojos: Azul
- Altura: 173cm
- Peso: 54.4kg
- Idiomas: Inglés
Distinguishing Marks or Factors (Características Distintivas)
- Lip Piercings
- Small Playboy Bunny Tattoo on his Chest
- Perforaciones de labios
- Pequeño tatuaje de conejita de Playboy en su pecho
Medical Concerns (Atención Médica)
- May have struggled with selective mutism when he was in a stressful situation.
- Puede haber tenido problemas con el mutismo selectivo cuando estaba en una situación estresante.
- Black Pants
- White Undershirt Shirt
- White T-Shirt
- He may have been wearing a jacket or a white hoodie with the brand name “Aeropostale” in brown lettering
- Black Backpack containing a pocket knife, phone charger, and personal hygiene items (e.g., deodorant)
- Pantalones negros
- Camiseta interior blanca
- Camiseta blanca
- Es posible que haya estado usando una chaqueta o una sudadera con capucha blanca con el nombre de la marca “Aeropostale” en letras marrones.
- Mochila negra que contiene una navaja de bolsillo, un cargador de teléfono y artículos de higiene personal (p. ej., desodorante)
If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact:
- Newnan Police
- Crime Stoppers (Georgia)
- Your Nearest United States Embassy
- Your National Police
Or use the QR Code (right) to find contact information for various National Police Agencies
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- Levins, S. (2021) ‘Newnan teen killed after homecoming remains unsolved 10 years later’, 11 Alive, 10 July, Link.
- Nelms, B. (2011) ‘Senoia teen identified as murder victim’, The Citizen, 22 December, Link
- Levins, S. (2022) ‘He vanished after his high school homecoming dance in 2011. His family continues to fight for justice in his murder’, 11 Alive, 24 August, Link.
- Winjaw (2012) ‘The Death Of Blake Chappell’, Just Flip the Dog, 16 October, Link.
- Reddit, “This cold case is SO wild. A 17 year old is murdered walking home after homecoming, found naked in a creek after 2 months of being missing, and 10 years later it’s never been solved.”, Link.
- Leftwich, R. (2021) ‘Who killed Blake Chappell?’, The Newnan Times-Herald, 24 September, Link.
- Blake’s Tribute Wall for his Obituary (Link)
- Megan (2021) ‘The Unsolved Murder of Blake Chappell’, True Crime Mysteries, 28 December, Link.
- Baldwin, J. (2021) ‘The Unsolved Murder of Blake Chappell’, Medium, 2 November (Link)
- Uncovered (2022) ‘Blake Chappell’, 31 December (Link)
- Find a Grave, ‘Blake Tyler Chappell’, (Link)
- GoFundMe ‘Justic for Blake Chappell’ (Link)
- True Case Files (2022) ‘The Murder of Blake Chappell’, May (Link)
- Boone, C. (2011) ‘Body found in Newnan identified as missing 17-year-old’, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 23 December (Link)
- Nelms, B. (2011) ‘Senoia teen identified as murder victim’, The Citizen, 22 December (Link)
- Websleuths (Link)
- Blake Tyler Chappell Obituary (Link)
- Pundir, R. (2022) ‘Mysteries That We Wish We Knew The Answers To’, Ranker, 11 May (Link)
- Luminol (2022) ‘Homecoming & ERApostale, 2 November (Link)
- Voices for Justice (2022) ‘Blake Chappell’ (Link)
- Catch My Killer (2021) ‘Episode 106: Blake Chappell’, 31 October (Link)
- The Killers (2021) ‘S01 E09 – Case 09: Blake Chappell’, 30 July (Link)
- Seriously Mysterious, ‘Who Killed Blake Chappell?’ (Link)
- True Crime Squad (2021) ‘The Mysterious Death of Blake Chappell’, 13 July, (Link)
- Strange and Unexplained (2021) ‘#75 The Story of Blake Chappell’, 1 November (Link)
- Missing (2022) ‘312 // Blake Chappell – Part 1’, August (Link to Part 1) (Link to Part 2)
- Morbid (2022) ‘The Unsolved Murder of Blake Tyler Chappell’, July (Link)
- Six Degrees of WTF (2022) ‘Episode 76: Doll Face’, 20 September (Link)
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