What had been described as the “best night of my life” turned to horror and has been unsolved for a decade
What had started as the best night of Blake Chappell’s life ended in mystery. The seventeen-year-old from Senoia, Georgia, had attended his high school homecoming dance surrounded by friends on October 15, 2011.
Blake’s mother, Melissa, dropped him off at his girlfriend’s house, and it had been planned that Blake would spend the night at a friend’s house, so she didn’t expect to see him until the following day.
Blake called his mom after the dance to let her know he had a good time, and he said goodnight. Blake was picked up from school by his girlfriend’s mother, and he had been allowed to stay after the dance to watch a movie. Then they dropped Blake off at his friend Austin’s house.
He was supposed to stay the night there, but he left and walked back to his girlfriend’s house at some point in the night. He snuck in through her bedroom window, where he spent several hours. Around 5:30 AM, he was caught by his girlfriend’s parents in the early morning hours, and he left.
He was witnessed walking in the direction of Austin’s house. Cellphone records show he had sent several text messages apologizing to his girlfriend’s mom for breaking their rules and messaging his girlfriend. His last text to his girlfriend said a cop was stopping him. He had mentioned he was near Austin’s house and was just about at a bridge.
Around 11 AM, Melissa received a call from Austin, asking if Blake was at home. Austin told her he had left his house late that night to see his girlfriend but never returned like he said he was going to. Melissa checked the home to make sure Blake hadn’t come home in the night and confirmed Blake wasn’t there. From there, she called Blake’s girlfriend’s parents, who confirmed he had been there unbeknownst to them but had left in the morning.
Melissa called the Newnan Police Department by noon to report him missing, and a search began right away. Blake had been going through some odd legal troubles. That previous summer, he had been dating someone else. The girl had been sixteen and ran away from home, and she was allegedly escaping her abusive stepfather. When she was found, she was with Blake as he tried to help her. Her parents filed charges, alleging he had kidnapped her. Because Blake was seventeen, he was considered an adult under the law, and she was a minor. He had spent sixteen days in jail until he was released on bond.
Blake was set to have his first court appearance in that matter on October 24. However, the charges had already been likely to be dismissed by the prosecution. Statements from the girlfriend backed up Blake’s claims that he was only trying to help, and she had run away, and he had not kidnapped her. During that incident, his girlfriend’s stepfather had punched him in the face and threatened to kill him several times, even showing him he was carrying a gun.
Blake had been terrified over the incident. He was only seventeen and was being threatened by a volatile man. Blake and his mother had moved shortly after the incident though it still was concerning. His mom instructed him to cut contact with any friends from that area. Due to the ongoing threats Blake had been receiving. His mother didn’t want Blake to be found by this man.
When Blake had first disappeared, he was initially thought to have run away because of the court appearance. He had no way of knowing that the case was close to being dropped. Extensive searches were undertaken, but there was no sign of him anywhere. His phone had been dark since the early morning hours the morning he went missing.
Two months after his disappearance, on December 19, a discovery was made. The body of a young man was found in a creek at the Summer Grove subdivision. Halfway between his girlfriend’s house and Austin’s house.
The body was quickly identified as Blake, and his cause of death had been a close-range gunshot wound to the back of the head. He was found wearing only his underwear and an undershirt. His backpack, cellphone, pants, and hoodie are still missing.
The medical examiner estimated his time of death to be close to October 16. Blake had likely been murdered close to when his phone last connected to a cell tower, around 6 AM.
An extensive investigation was launched, but there was little evidence to point to a suspect forensically. Officials have gone on record to clear several suspects, but one suspect has yet to be cleared. There is a $20,000 reward being offered for any information leading to an arrest.