GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. - Four teenagers are in custody in connection with a murder in Greene County, Tennessee and a day-long manhunt in South Carolina.
Deputies in South Carolina used bloodhounds, a helicopter, and dozens of officers to find the suspects.
Newberry County deputies tell us they caught the teens when someone saw them run through a field into a wooded area. A helicopter was able to track the suspects, and deputies quickly caught them.
"We received a call where possible information had been handed down that something had gone on [at the victim's home], and our officers went to respond. Sure enough they found the victim," says Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns.
Burns tells us the victim was 36-year-old Robert Blanchard, who died from a gunshot wound.
We learned Blanchard's 16-year-old son is a suspect. He met up with three other juveniles -- two 15-year-old boys and a 16-year-old girl. "After [the shooting], he got up with the other three juveniles. We are not sure, but we are reasonably sure that they knew about the murder and have assisted in the flight," says Newberry County, South Carolina Sheriff Lee Foster.
Sheriff Burns tells us while his deputies were at the home, they noticed something that would lead them to the suspects. "We noticed a vehicle that should have been at the scene wasn't there. We were able to take the information from that vehicle and put it in the National Crime Information Center," he said.
A South Carolina state trooper spotted the vehicle and the teens at a rest stop in Newberry County.
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says the teens sped away. "Their vehicle hit the stinger strips and the tires were flattened. They continued on about a quarter-mile and wrecked on South Carolina Highway 34," he said.
Foster says that's when the teens ran into a wooded area, and the search was on.
Foster tells us while searching the van the teens ditched, they found several guns, likely taken from the victim's home. "[There were] four long rifles, two of which were AK-47s, SKS-type weapons, and two shotguns. About 200 rounds of ammunition were in the car," he said.
Foster says investigators caught the teens around 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon with the help of a tip from someone who saw them. They now face charges in both South Carolina and Tennessee. "A lot of times they will place their charges and put a hold on them for us. Once they are finished there then we'll go get them. We'll have to look at extradition and certainly being juveniles we'll get them back in the court system in Tennessee," adds Burns.
Sheriff Burns tells us they are investigating to see what role, if any, the other three teens had in the murder. He says they are also checking to see if they have any criminal history.
Burns says all the suspects went to high schools in Greene County.
He also tells us nobody else lived inside the home where the shooting happened.
- Court: Greeneville bank manager embezzled more than $1 million
- Local police agencies offering drug take-back services Saturday
- Domtar announces reduced production at Kingsport plant
- Virginia voter registration deadline extended through Friday
- School board picks plan for new Boone's Creek school, discusses redistricting issue