Friday, May 16, 2014

Times-News: Arrest Made in Connection with Disappearance of Hailey Man

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Keith Blankenship, 47, of Hailey, is in custody charged with second-degree murder and destruction of evidence in connection with the January disappearance of Steve Romanchuk. - BLAINE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Blaine County Sheriff's Office
  • Keith Blankenship, 47, of Hailey, is in custody charged with second-degree murder and destruction of evidence in connection with the January disappearance of Steve Romanchuk.

Nearly four months to the day after 49-year-old Steve Romanchuk was reported missing from his home in Hailey on Jan. 15, the Blaine County Sheriff's Office made an arrest in connection with the disappearance.
click to enlarge Steve Romanchuk, 49, of Hailey, was reported missing from his home on Jan. 15. Four months later, an arrest has been made in his disappearance. - BLAINE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Blaine County Sheriff's Office
  • Steve Romanchuk, 49, of Hailey, was reported missing from his home on Jan. 15. Four months later, an arrest has been made in his disappearance.

Keith Blankenship, 49, also of Hailey, was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies May 14, charged with second-degree murder.

According to the Twin Falls Times-News, Blankenship showed up at the Sheriff's Office claiming he hadn't told police the whole truth when first questioned about Romanchuk's whereabouts. He was arrested following statements made to officers, according to a news release.

When deputies searched Blankeship's home, they found unidentified human remains in a backyard leaf pile. Idaho State Police forensics experts are working with the Blaine County Coroner's Office and the Sheriff's Office to collect evidence. An autopsy has not yet been scheduled.

Romanchuk's disappearance was reported by his wife, Lauraine Phillips. Believed to be traveling in his 1997 Chevy pickup, Romanchuk did not take any clothing or camping gear, and his wallet—complete with identification and bank cards—was found at his home. His truck was found in February parked at the Sun Valley Lodge.

Blankenship was arraigned May 15 in Blaine County, charged with second-degree murder and destruction of evidence. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, May 29.

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