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Update: Teenage slaying suspects captured

April 3rd, 2014 11:19 am by Becky Campbell

Update: Teenage slaying suspects captured

A poster released by the Newberry County Sheriff's Office of the four teens wanted out of Greene County.

Four teenagers wanted in connection to a Greene County homicide were captured in South Carolina less than 24 hours after the shooting that killed one of their fathers.

The teens, identified by South Carolina authorities as Zachary Blanchard, 16; Shelby Riley, 16; Liam Lawler, 15; and Daniel Richards-Birchfield, 15, were taken into custody in Newberry County. Newberry, S.C. is about 40 miles northwest of Columbia, S.C.

Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns said officers responded to 3905 Snapps Ferry Road around 11 p.m. Wednesday after a report of a possible shooting. When they arrived, officers found Robert J. Blanchard, 36, dead from a gunshot wound. Blanchard is Zachary Blanchard’s father, Burns said.

According to authorities, the group of teens allegedly fled Greene County in a stolen van shortly after the incident and left Tennessee.

The foursome were tracked down after leading a South Carolina Highway Patrol officer on a pursuit. The trooper reportedly spotted the teens Thursday morning at a rest area on Interstate 26 and a pursuit ensued. A deputy sheriff spiked the tires and the suspects bailed out of the van on a South Carolina highway, according to reports.

Residents in the area were asked to shelter in place as a search continued for the suspects.

According to the Associated, the teens, who planned to go to Myrtle Beach, S.C., were spotted by a strawberry farmer hiding in one of his fields.

He called police, and the teens ran when they heard law enforcement approaching, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said.

A helicopter followed them and they stopped running, waiting for officers to catch up and take them into custody. The suspects, two 15-year-old boys and a 16-year-old boy and girl, were scratched up from running but not seriously hurt, Foster said.

“They all ran,” Foster said. “And they all stuck together.”

Officers had worried the suspects, who are 15 and 16 years old, were heavily armed. They took at least eight guns from Tennessee, and four pistols were missing from their van after it crashed, Foster said. But no guns were found on them when they were arrested and one of the suspects told deputies they threw the pistols into a creek.

Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation drove down to Newberry and are questioning the teens, Foster said. It will be up to the out-of-state authorities to decide whether the suspects are tried as adults, he said.

Investigators think the 16-year-old killed his father and then met up with three others to run away to Myrtle Beach. The families of the three teens reported them missing Thursday morning, Foster said.

“They were aware of what went on,” Foster said. “It’s just a question right now of when they found out.”

The teens were talking to people back in Tennessee as they drove south, but all of their cellphones were found in the van after it crashed, the sheriff said.

No other details were available but the case is still under investigation.

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____

Earlier report:

According to the Newberry County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina, all four teenagers wanted in a Greene County shooting death Wednesday night have been taken into custody.

According to a release, the suspects were located when a citizen saw them run through a
field into a wooded area. Law enforcement officers surrounded
the area and the helicopter was able to track the suspects until they
were taken into custody, authorities said.

The suspects were taken into custody without incident. They will be
transported to the Newberry County Sheriff's Office pending further
action.

Keep checking JohnsonCityPress.com for more details on this developing story.

____

Earlier report:

South Carolina authorities have released the names and images of four teens wanted in connection with an apparent murder in Greene County on Wednesday night.

Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns said officers responded to 3905 Snapps Ferry Road around 11 p.m. after a report of a possible shooting. When they arrived, officers found Robert J. Blanchard, 36, dead from a gunshot wound.

The victim's 16-year-old son, Zachary Blanchard, is among those wanted in connection with the shooting. The other teens are Shelby Riley, 16; Liam Lawler, 15; and Daniel Richards-Birchfield, 15.

According to authorities, the group of teens allegedly fled Greene County in a stolen van shortly after the incident.

A South Carolina trooper reportedly spotted the teens Thursday morning at a rest area on Interstate 26 and a pursuit ensued. A deputy sheriff spiked the tires and the suspects bailed out of the car on a South Carolina highway, according to reports.

Residents in the area have been asked to shelter in place as a search continues for the suspects.

_____

Earlier Report:

Greene County sheriff’s officers are investigating a murder that happened late Wednesday and South Carolina authorities are searching for four people, including the victim’s teenage son, for questioning.

Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns said officers responded to 3905 Snapps Ferry Road around 11 p.m. after a report of a possible shooting.

When they arrived, officers found Robert J. Blanchard, 36, dead from a gunshot wound.

Investigators said there are four suspects, all teenagers, in the deadly shooting. One of those suspects is Blanchard’s 16-year-old son. Names of the suspects have not been released because they are juveniles, according to Capt. Jeff Morgan.

Information about the suspects. and a possible vehicle they were traveling in, was broadcast to law law enforcement agencies in surrounding states.

Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Greene County received information from the South Carolina Highway Patrol in the Newberry County area that the vehicle was found and “the occupants of the vehicle did flee on foot and are currently being sought by the South Carolina Highway Patrol,” a press release stated.

Follow Becky Campbell on Twitter @CampbellinCourt.

Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeckyCampbellJCPress.

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