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UPDATE: Willie Blanton's Girlfriend Sentenced

By: Lauren Schmoll; Brooks Jarosz; Olivia Fecteau; The Associated Press Email
By: Lauren Schmoll; Brooks Jarosz; Olivia Fecteau; The Associated Press Email
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UPDATE 7/19/13 @ 1:25 p.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – The girlfriend of the Johnson County man who murdered his parents has been officially sentenced to three years jail.

Amanda Fannin was in Johnson County Circuit Court Friday for her sentencing hearing as part of her amended plea deal.

Last month, Fannin pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution, a charged connected to shooting deaths Larry, 60, and Sandra, 53, and two older unrelated charges of contraband and flagrant non-support.

On February 22, investigators found their bodies near a barn on the farm. The couple disappeared in early September 2012. Investigators say they died as a result of blunt force trauma and put their time of death around the time they went missing.

Fannin is the girlfriend of Willie Blanton who pleaded guilty to murdering his parents, and then burying their bodies on the family's farm in Oil Springs. Following his plea, Blanton was sentenced to two life terms without the chance of parole.

Although Fannin was not involved in the murders, she did have knowledge of the murders after the fact.

Friday following the sentencing, Fannin told WSAZ that when she first found out about the murders she was terrified and didn't know what to do or how Willie Blanton could have done such a thing.

"Something was wrong with him, something...I mean you just don't do that… It was one of those situations where I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. You got two people that was once my family gone and this other person that's part of my family at the same time and I really didn't know how to deal with it," said Fannin.

After praying long and hard Fannin said she decided that telling authorities was the right thing to do and to allow some closure for the family.

Even after knowing what Blanton did to his parents Fannin says she doesn't see him the way everyone else does.

“When I found out how it had happened, I just....I can't picture this monster everybody thinks he is still yet I know it's sad but I probably never will see that person in him,” said Fannin.

Fannin has already served 290 days in jail on her 3 year sentence and hopes her life will take another road when she gets out.

"I've been down awhile, I'm hoping to move up"



UPDATE 6/21/13 @ 2 p.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- With her eyes locked on her mom, Amanda Fannin blew a kiss to her mom before agreeing to a new plea deal during a hearing in a Johnson County Circuit Courtroom Friday.

Fannin pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution, and two older unrelated charges of contraband and flagrant non-support.

Fannin is the girlfriend of Willie Blanton who recently pleaded guilty to murdering his parents, Larry and Sandra Blanton, and then burying their bodies on the family's farm. While Fannin is not believed to have been involved in the murder, she is believed to have knowledge of the murders after the fact.

In exchange for her testimony related to the murders, Friday’s amended plea agreement by the Commonwealth Attorney says Fannin could serve three years on the charges of contraband and flagrant non-support to run concurrently to the indering prosecution charge.

The agreement also states that Willie Blanton would not face the death penalty, and that Fannin would not be prosecuted for any crimes she committed after learning of the Blanton's unless it is later determined she was involved in the murders.

On Monday, Blanton was sentenced to two life terms without the chance of parole.

Fannin's original plea with the Commonwealth Attorney happened in March, the same day that the bodies of the couple were found on their farm in Oil Spring.

But last month, prosecutors took action to void that plea agreement due to alleged statements from jailhouse informants that contradicted Fannin’s original statements about her involvement in the murder.

In the deal, Fannin said she had no involvement in the murders and only became aware of the crime after the fact.

Kim Borowski is the daughter of Larry Blanton and says,"it is what it is" and they wish Amanda would have received more than three years.

"All the family feels she deserves more because she knew about it and she could have ended it a lot sooner," said Borowski.

Borowski also said it was very difficult to look into the faces of Willie and Amanda in court each day. "Yeah I have a lot of anger issues with that but I hope some day I can move on. It's just real fresh right now and I have a lot of hate and hard feelings toward him and I'm just glad he got what he deserved," she said.

When asked what she (Borowski) would like say to William and Amanda, she said "you just really want to know what happened and why? It's just very hard to understand why someone would do something like this," Borowski said.

We tried to talk with Amanda Fannin today, but she declined an interview but said she would speak with us after her sentencing July 19.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/17/13 @ 2 p.m. .
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – Willie Blanton will serve two life sentences without the chance of parole for killing his mother and father, then burying their bodies on the family farm in Johnson County, Kentucky.

It was a very emotional day at the Johnson County Courthouse, as we heard from the victim's sister, his grandmother, and even a letter written by his mother before she was murdered.

Willie Blanton was emotionless as he walked into the courtroom early Monday morning. He knew what lay ahead when it came to his sentence, but exactly what his aunt, sister and grandmother would say came as a surprise.

“The only thing you've ever given this family is lies and stealing from each of us,” Blanton’s aunt, Lois Fraley, said.

“You had our dad for a lifetime,” sister Amanda Howard said. “Something Kim and I always longed for. If you didn't want him, we sure did.”

“You have a home where you are going,” Blanton’s grandmother, Nora Blair, said. “But it won't be one you can run to mom or dad for money or a truck to drive.”

As part of the plea deal, Blanton received two life sentences without the chance of parole. The assistant commonwealth attorney was surprised by the deal, because that sentence was the maximum Blanton could have received by jury trial.

“I couldn't get into the mind of Willie Blanton, nor would I want to,” Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Anthony Skeans said. “Whatever reasons that he chose to do this, they were good reasons to him.”

The defense attorney said Blanton made the deal to help his family move on; something they doubt.

“According to the recent interviews, I heard you've developed a conscience and you made this plea agreement for the family,” Fraley said. “I don't buy it.”

In their statements, they said nothing Willie could do would ever give them the closure they need.

Folks close to this case say this was the first time they saw any emotion out of Willie himself, and after he was led out of the courtroom he actually broke down crying before he was taken off to jail to begin serving that life sentence.



UPDATE 6/17/13 @ 10:15 a.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Tearful family members had their day in court Monday morning at the formal sentencing hearing for Willie Blanton.

Blanton's grandmother Nora Blair told Blanton she couldn't understand how he could kill his parents, who had done everything for him.

His sister told him, he was the son their father had waited his whole life to have.

A letter that was written by Willie's mother Sandra, before her death, was also read in court.

Friday, Blanton admitted to killing his parents Larry, 60,and Sandra, 53, and then burying their bodies on their farm in Oil Springs.

On February 22, investigators found their bodies near a barn on the farm. The couple disappeared in early September 2012. Investigators say they died as a result of blunt force trauma and put their time of death around the time they went missing.

Blanton, 30, pleaded guilty to all charges including two counts of murder and two counts of tampering with evidence.

As part of Blanton's plea agreement he received life in prison without parole on each of the murder charges, five years for each of the tampering with evidence charges and 10 years for enhancement of counts one and two.

Blanton showed no emotion and had no comment during Monday’s sentencing hearing.

The County Coroner said after he was led out of the courtroom, Blanton broke down crying as he was taken to prison.



UPDATE 6/14/13 @ 11:30 a.m.
LOUISA, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A son has pleaded guilty to murdering his parents.

Willie Blanton, 30, of Oil Springs entered the plea during what was supposed to be a pretrial hearing in Lawrence County, Ky., Friday morning.

On February 22, investigators found the bodies of William Blanton, 60, and Sandra Blanton, 53, buried near a barn at their farm in Oil Springs in Johnson County.

The couple disappeared in early September 2012. Investigators say they died as a result of blunt force trauma and put their time of death around the time they went missing.

In March, Willie was indicted in Johnson County on two counts of murder, tampering with evidence and being a persistent felony offender. In April, a change of venue was granted, moving the case to Lawrence County, Ky.

During Friday’s hearing, Blanton pleaded guilty to all counts of the indictment.

The possibility of a guilty plea had been discussed this week but came as a surprise to Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price.

"I was shocked this morning when the Commonwealth Attorney called me and said he was going to possibly take a life sentence today," Price said.

Defense Attorney Steven Goble says Blanton just wants to get this over with. "I think his actions today speak to his willingness to let his family move on," Goble said.

Sheriff Price says by not going to trial it makes it easier on the victim's family and justice is still served. "I think his guilty plea fits the crime, I think he got just what he deserved," Price said.

Price went on to say, “Justice has been served ... Willie will not get out of prison for the rest of his natural born life. He will no longer pose a danger to society. This case was worked on by every Deputy in our Office. The Blanton’s family and many citizens in the Oil Springs area, as well as throughout the county, were a lot of help in getting a resolution. Also, we appreciate the hard work put in by the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to get this agreement. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say we are all thankful this case is finally closed.”

As part of Blanton's plea agreement he will receive life without parole on each of the murder charges, five years for each if the tampering with evidence charges and 10 years for enhancement of counts one and two.

Blanton's girlfriend Amanda Fannin had originally struck a plea deal with the Commonwealth in exchange for information on the Blanton's murder. Defense Attorney Goble says Blanton's plea agreement wasn't conditional on a new offer made by the Commonwealth to Fannin, and that case is still pending.

Blanton will be sentenced at 8 a.m. Monday. Family members of the victims will be allowed to make a statement prior to sentencing if they wish.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/17/13 @ 11:45 a.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The testimony of several jailhouse informants could determine if a woman lied about her involvement in the murder of her boyfriend’s parents. That testimony could also void her plea deal in the case.

Amanda Fannin originally said she had no involvement in the murder of Larry Blanton, 60, and Sandra Blanton, 53, and only became aware of the crime after the fact.

The Blanton’s son, Willie, is charged with the murders.

The Commonwealth Attorney struck the deal with Fannin in March, the same day that the bodies of the couple were found on their farm in Oil Springs.

Prosecutors now claim that Fannin, 32, made statements to jailhouse informants that contradict her involvement in the murder.

Fannin was in Johnson County Circuit Court Friday morning for a hearing to determine if the plea agreement should be voided.

Fannin's attorney told Judge John David Preston they needed more time to review the statements of the informants before having a hearing.

As a result, the hearing is now set for June 26. At that time, the informants could testify.

In the plea deal, Fannin agreed to divulge all information she knew about how the couple died, and where the remains could be found. This included information and testimony that would allow the Commonwealth Attorney to prosecute Willie Blanton for the deaths of his parents and concealing their remains

Fannin told prosecutors that she had no role in the murders, was not at the scene of the murders, and only became aware of the murders after the fact.

In exchange for her information, the Commonwealth Attorney agreed to not prosecute her for any crimes she may have committed after learning of the deaths, and dismiss with prejudice the charges she already faced in Johnson County -- first-degree promoting contraband, and second-degree being a persistent felony offender. Prosecutors also agreed to not seek the death penalty against Willie Blanton as part of her plea deal.

In the motion filed earlier this month in Johnson County Circuit Court, the Commonwealth Attorney said that on April 8, prosecutors became aware of statements made by Fannin to four individuals that contradict the statement given to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

These statements include “alleged statements made by Amanda Fannin which indicate that she helped in the disposal of the bodies, clean up of the murder scene and was present during the murder of at least Sandra Blanton.”

As she left the courtroom Friday, Fannin turned and blew a kiss to her mom.

Fannin's mother didn't want to go on camera, but told WSAZ.com, "This doesn't sound like anything Amanda would be involved in but when there's drugs you don't know."

Fannin remains in the Pike County Detention Center on a hold out of Johnson County for charges not related to the murder.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/8/13
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Prosecutors have filed paperwork to set aside Amanda Fannin’s plea deal in connection with the murder of a Johnson County couple.

The Commonwealth Attorney struck the deal with Fannin in March, the same day that the bodies of Larry Blanton, 60, and Sandra Blanton, 53, were found on their farm in Oil Springs.

Fannin, 32, is the girlfriend of the Blanton’s son, Willie, who is charged with his parent’s murder.

In the plea deal, Fannin agreed to divulge all information she knew about how the couple died, and where the remains could be found. This included information and testimony that would allow the Commonwealth Attorney to prosecute Willie Blanton for the deaths of his parents and concealing their remains

Fannin told prosecutors that she had no role in the murders, was not at the scene of the murders, and only became aware of the murders after the fact.

In exchange for her information, the Commonwealth Attorney agreed to not prosecute her for any crimes she may have committed after learning of the deaths, and dismiss with prejudice the charges she already faced in Johnson County -- first-degree promoting contraband, and second-degree being a persistent felony offender. Prosecutors also agreed to not seek the death penalty against Willie Blanton as part of her plea deal.

In the motion filed Tuesday in Johnson County Circuit Court, the Commonwealth Attorney said that on April 8, prosecutors became aware of statements made by Fannin to four other individuals that contradict the statement given to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

These statements include “alleged statements made by Amanda Fannin which indicate that she helped in the disposal of the bodies, clean up of the murder scene and was present during the murder of at least Sandra Blanton.”

A hearing on the motion to void the plea agreement is set for May 17.

Fannin remains in the Pike County Detention Center on a hold out of Johnson County for charges not related to the murder.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



4/5/13 @ 12 p.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A change of venue has been ordered for the son charged with murdering his parents.

Willie Blanton, 30, was in Johnson County Circuit Court Friday for his arraignment on two counts of murder, tampering with evidence and being a persistent felony offender.

On February 22, investigators found the bodies of William Blanton, 60, and Sandra Blanton, 53, buried near a barn their farm in Oil Springs in Johnson County.

The couple disappeared in early September. Investigators say they died the result of blunt force trauma and put their time of death around the time they went missing.

Willie was indicted for the murders last month.

During Friday’s hearing the judge ruled the Blanton’ trial for the murders will take place in Lawrence County, Ky. The judge also ruled that the charges Blanton faces that are unrelated to the murder will also be included in the murder trial

On October 8, Willie was arrested trying to fill his father’s prescriptions at a local pharmacy.

Later that month a Johnson County Grand Jury indicted him on the following charges unrelated to the murders:

  • Prohibited acts relating to controlled substance
  • Eight counts of persistent felony offender in the first degree
  • 10 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree
  • Intent to defraud/scheme/artifice to obtain benefits under $10,000
  • Theft by unlawful taking over $5005 .

    The trial on these charges was already set for Lawrence County.

    Assistant Prosecutor Tony Skeans argued Friday that all the charges be combined into one trial saying that the previous charges provide a motive leading to the deaths of the Blanton’s.

    Defense Attorney Steven Goble said these other charges are unrelated to the charge of murder.

    Goble also says that even though the trial has been moved to Lawrence County, he thinks rumors and hearsay will prevent a fair trial.

    "We think a lot of jurors will be paying attention to the case in Lawrence County, so I will anticipate now that they have joined the murder charges with the other charges that we will file a second motion to change the venue."

    Amanda Howard who is the daughter of Larry Blanton attended Friday’s hearing and told WSAZ.com that the family just wants a fair trial for what was done to her father and stepmother. The family is not doing interviews until the trial is over, but wants to see justice done for this crime.

    Willie Blanton’s next court appearance is a pretrial is set for May 3 in Lawrence County, Ky. He is being held in the Boyd County Detention Center.



    UPDATE 3/20/13 @ 3 p.m.
    PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A Johnson County grand jury that met on Wednesday indicted Willie Blanton on two counts of murder in the deaths of parents.

    On February 22, investigators found the bodies of William Blanton, 60, and Sandra Blanton, 53, buried near a barn their farm in Oil Springs in Johnson County.

    The couple disappeared in early September. Investigators say they died the result of blunt force trauma and put their time of death around the time they went missing.

    Commonwealth Attorney Anna Melvin tells WSAZ.com that in addition to the murder charges, Willie, 30, was indicted for tampering with evidence and being a persist ant felony offender.

    "From the beginning of this investigation he was deceitful with us and he's been a person of interest since day one," said Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price.

    Willie is set to be arraigned on the charges April 5 in Johnson County Circuit Court. He is being held in the Boyd County Detention Center.

    The bodies were found after Willie’s girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, made a plea deal with the Commonwealth Attorney.

    In the plea deal, Fannin, 32, of Oil Springs, agreed to divulge everything she knew about how the couple died, and where the couple’s remains could be found. This included information and testimony that would allow the Commonwealth Attorney to prosecute Willie Blanton for the deaths of his parents and concealing their remains.

    Prosecutors say Fannin didn't have anything to do with the murders, but was the only person, other than Willie Blanton, who knew about them.

    In October, Willie and Fannin, were indicted in Johnson County on charges not directly related to the disappearance of Blanton's parents.

    Those charges will be dropped against Fannin as part of her plea deal.

    "I personally don't believe after seeing the investigation from start to finish that she actually had anything to do with the murders. We're glad it's over. We've put together a good case, and we're ready for trial or whatever comes our way next," said Sheriff Price.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



    UPDATE 3/6/13 @ 9:45 a.m.
    PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – The Johnson County couple whose bodies were found buried on their farm last month died of blunt force trauma.

    On February 22, investigators found the bodies of William Blanton, 60, and Sandra Blanton, 53, buried near a barn their farm in Oil Springs.

    Johnson County Coroner J.R. Frisby tells WSAZ.com while they know how the couple died, they do not know what was used to kill them

    Frisby says the Blanton’s suffered trauma to the head and body.

    He says the medical examiner had to use dental records and a pacemaker to make the positive identification.

    Frisby also tells WSAZ.com that it appears the husband and wife were killed near where the bodies were found.

    He also says investigators are using September 7 as the date they died. The couple disappeared in early September.

    The bodies were found after the girlfriend of the Blanton’s son, Willie, 29, made a plea deal with the Commonwealth Attorney.

    In the plea deal, Amanda Fannin, 32, of Oil Springs agreed to divulge everything she knew about how the couple died, and where the couple’s remains could be found. This included information and testimony that would allow the Commonwealth Attorney to prosecute Willie Blanton for the deaths of his parents and concealing their remains.

    The Johnson County Sheriff says this is now a homicide case.

    In October, Willie and Fannin, were indicted in Johnson County on charges not directly related to the disappearance of Blanton's parents. Both have been in jail since that time.

    A Johnson County grand jury is expected to consider murder charges against Willie Blanton when it meets March 20.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



    UPDATE 3/1/13 @ 3:50 p.m.
    PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man who investigators have named a person of interest in the deaths of his parents was in court Friday on unrelated charges.

    The hearing in Johnson County Circuit Court for Willie Blanton, 29, was related to his October 2012 grand jury indictment.

    William,60, and Sandra, 53, Blanton's bodies were found last Friday buried on their property in Oil Springs. They were last seen in early September

    The bodies were found after Willie's girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, who was also considered a person of interest in the disappearances, made a plea deal with the Commonwealth Attorney.

    In the plea deal, Fannin agreed to divulge all information she knew about how the couple died, and where the couple’s remains could be found. This included information and testimony that would allow the Commonwealth Attorney to prosecute Willie Blanton for the deaths of his parents and concealing their remains..

    Friday his attorney, Steven Goble, told WSAZ.com, "One of the biggest difficulties has been that rumors, innuendos, speculations and mis-statements of facts have been repeated through the media and social media and picked up on and duplicated so one of the biggest issues is just getting a fair trial for the defendant and the prosecution."

    Goble said he cannot comment on the plea agreement that Fannin made with the Commonwealth Attorney, but said, "Clearly it shows that Amanda Fannin knew something about the disappearance of the Blantons and I think at this point that's all we really know."

    The coroner has not released how the Blanton's died.

    A Johnson County grand jury is expected to consider murder charges against Blanton when it meets March 20.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



    UPDATE 2/27/13 @ 1:45 p.m.
    PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Investigators were able to locate the bodies of Larry, 60, and Sandra, 53, thanks to a plea agreement with the girlfriend of the Blanton’s son.

    The Blanton's were reported missing in September. Their bodies were found buried behind a horse barn on their farm in Oil Springs late Friday night.

    The couple's son, William "Willie" Blanton, 29, has been a person of interest in the case since shortly after his parents disappeared, according to investigators.

    In October, Willie and his girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, 32, of Oil Springs, were indicted in Johnson County on charges not directly related to the disappearance of Blanton's parents. Both have been in jail since that time.

    WSAZ.com obtained a copy of the plea agreement between Fannin and the Commonwealth Attorney that was signed on Friday. Later that day, Fannin was taken to the farm by Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputies. That evening the bodies were recovered.

    In the plea deal, Fannin agreed to divulge all information she knew about how the Blantons died, and where the couple’s remains could be found. This included information and testimony that would allow the Commonwealth Attorney to prosecute Willie Blanton for the deaths of his parents and concealing their remains..

    Fannin told prosecutors that she had no role in the deaths and that she learned of what happened after the couple was already dead.

    In exchange for her information, the Commonwealth Attorney agreed to not prosecute her for any crimes she may have committed after learning of the deaths, and dismiss with prejudice the charges she already faced in Johnson County (1st degree promoting contraband, and 2nd degree being a persistent felony offender).

    Prosecutors also agreed to not seek the death penalty for Willie Blanton if he is charged with his parent’s deaths.

    Fannin is also being allowed to enter a 180 day rehabilitation program. Prosecutors also agreed to not seek criminal flagrant non-support charges against Fannin in Lawrence County, Ky.

    If Fannin is not totally worth-coming with information or is found to be involved in the the Balnton's death, the agreement would be vacated, according to the plea deal.

    Investigators have not released how the Blanton’s died. That information could be available on Friday.

    Sheriff Dwayne Price confirms this is now a homicide investigation.

    Fannin is currently being held in the Pike County Detention Center. Court documents indicate she met with prosecutors on Monday.

    Investigators returned to the Blanton's farm Wednesday afternoon. We have a crew at the scene.

    Willie Blanton remains in the Johnson County Jail on the following charges from the October indictment.

  • Prohibited acts relating to controlled substance
  • Eight counts of persistent felony offender in the first degree
  • 10 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree
  • Intent to defraud/scheme/artifice to obtain benefits under $10,000
  • Theft by unlawful taking over $500

    According to court documents, Blanton used checks belonging to his parents at businesses in the area totaling a little more than $3,100. He was charged with stealing cattle and scrap metal from his parent’s farm.

    At the time of the indictments, Blanton and Fannin were already in jail facing drug charges. Investigators say Blanton tried to fill his missing father's pain pill prescription.

    The next grand jury meets on March 20th.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 2/26/13 @ 10 a.m.
    OIL SPRINGS, Ky. (AP) -- A coroner has confirmed the identities of two bodies found on property owned by a missing Johnson County couple.

    Johnson County Coroner J.R. Frisby told the Associated Press that autopsy results found the bodies are those of Larry, 60, and Sandra,53, Blanton.

    The Blantons were reported missing in September. Their bodies were found buried behind a horse barn on their farm in Oil Springs late Friday night.

    Sheriff Dwayne Price said Investigators went back to farm after getting a tip about the where the bodies could be found.

    There is no word on how the couple died.

    Investigators have called the couple's disappearance suspicious.

    The couple's son, Willie Blanton has been called a person of interest in the case.

    Willie and his girlfriend,Amanda Fanin are in jail in Johnson County on charges not directly related to the disappearance.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 2/25/13 @ 6 p.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price tells WSAZ.com that it will be Friday before two bodies found buried on a farm last Friday are positively identified.

    Price says he certain the bodies are Larry and Sandra Blanton, who disappeared back in September.

    The bodies were found late Friday night, buried about four feet underground, behind a barn on the Blanton’s Oil Springs farm. Investigators went back to farm after getting a tip about the where the bodies could be found.

    The bodies were taken to Frankfort for positive identification and cause of death..

    "I'm certain it's the Blantons," said Price on Saturday. "Based on our investigation and how this tip came in, I'm 100% sure

    The couple's son Willie has been a person of interest in the case since his parents disappeared. He moved into their home after they disappeared, claiming his parents had gone on vacation to Florida.

    In October, Willie and his girlfriend, Amanda Fanin were indicted in Johnson County on charges not directly related to the disappearance of Blanton's parents.

    Willie Blanton was indicted on the following charges:

  • Prohibited acts relating to controlled substance
  • Eight counts of persistent felony offender in the first degree
  • 10 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree
  • Intent to defraud/scheme/artifice to obtain benefits under $10,000
  • Theft by unlawful taking over $500

    Amanda Fannin

  • Promoting contraband in the first degree
  • Persistent felony offender in the second degree

    According to court documents, Blanton used checks belonging to his parents at businesses in the area totaling a little more than $3,100. He was charged with stealing cattle and scrap metal from his parent’s farm.

    At the time of the indictments, Blanton and Fannin were already in jail facing drug charges. Investigators say Blanton tried to fill his missing father's pain pill prescription.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 2/23/13 @ 7:30 p.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The police tape had been taken down Saturday, the front door of the house locked and the property deserted except for a few horses and dogs. But, for the first time in nearly six months, there was some closure for the people in Johnson County.

    Deputies found the bodies of two people believed to be Larry and Sandra Blanton, who disappeared in early September. Initially, investigators received tips and calls almost daily, but none of them led anywhere, and eventually the calls stopped.

    On Friday, investigators got a tip about where the bodies were buried on the Blantons' Oil Springs farm -- behind the barn. They searched late Sunday night and dug up the bodies, buried about four feet underground.

    "It was relieving. It meant the world to this office [and] the family -- I talked to them last night," Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said. "And it's made a huge impact on the community."

    The bodies have been taken to Frankfort to be autopsied and identified. Deputies should know by early next week what the cause of death was in this case. Price said even without positive identification, he has no doubts about who they are.

    "I'm certain it's the Blantons," Price said. "Based on our investigation and how this tip came in, I'm 100% sure."

    The couple's son Willie has been a person of interest in this case since the beginning. He moved into their home after they disappeared, claiming his parents had gone on vacation to Florida.

    Neighbors didn't realize anything was wrong right away. Patricia Webb, who lives down the hill from the Blantons' property, said their cars would still come up and down the hill after the couple went missing.

    "I'd talked to them a couple times, but really they just kept to themselves and stayed up there with their animals," Webb said.

    It wasn't until relatives started calling and asking if they'd seen Larry and Sandra that they realized something wasn't right. But for six months, no one had any information.

    "I'm glad they found them," Webb said Saturday. "That way, at least their family can have closure. [It] has to be tough on them to not really know where their loved ones are."

    Willie Blanton is currently in jail on drug charges unrelated to his parents' disappearance.

    Detectives are now investigating this as a double homicide, rather than a missing persons case.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 2/22/13 @ 11:55 p.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Two bodies believed to be missing Johnson County couple Larry and Sandra Blanton were found late Friday night on the couple's Oil Springs farm, Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said.

    The Blantons have been missing since last September, and their son Willie has been a person of interest in the case. He is in jail on unrelated drug charges.

    We have a crew at the scene.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 2/22/13 @ 10:15 p.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Deputies are searching late Friday night in Oil Springs for an eastern Kentucky couple missing for nearly half a year, Johnson County 911 dispatchers say.

    Larry and Sandra Blanton were reported missing in September.

    Dispatchers say the sheriff's department is searching the couple's property in Oil Springs, Ky.

    The couple’s disappearance is considered suspicious, and the couple's son Willie has been considered a person of interest in the case. He is in jail on unrelated drug charges.

    Willie Blanton's girlfriend Amanda also has been a person of interest in the case and has been jailed on drug charges.

    We have a crew headed to the scene.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 2/11/13 @ 12 p.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- There are still no new leads in the disappearance of a Johnson County couple missing since September 2012.

    Police tell WSAZ.com that, despite the $10,000 reward offered by the couple's family, they haven't received any calls with new information.

    The missing couple's son Willie and his girlfriend Amanda are both persons of interest in the case and are currently in jail on drug-related charges.

    Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.



    UPDATE 2/2/13 @ 12 a.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A family is offering a $10,000 reward for information about a Johnson County couple missing since last September.

    Sandra and Larry Blanton’s family members are worried the case will turn cold. They are offering the reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

    The missing couple’s son Willie and his girlfriend Amanda, are both persons of interest in the case. Both are in jail on drug-related charges.

    Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.



    UPDATE 1/9/13
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man at the center of parent’s disappearance will go on trial in April, but not in Johnson County.

    Larry and Sandara Blanton of Oil Springs in Johnson County, Ky., were reported missing in September.

    In October, their son, Willie Blanton and his girlfriend, Amanda Fanin were indicted in Johnson County on charges not directly related to the disappearance of Blanton's parents.

    Willie Blanton was indicted on the following charges:

  • Prohibited acts relating to controlled substance
  • Eight counts of persistent felony offender in the first degree
  • 10 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree
  • Intent to defraud/scheme/artifice to obtain benefits under $10,000
  • Theft by unlawful taking over $500

    Amanda Fannin

  • Promoting contraband in the first degree
  • Persistent felony offender in the second degree

    According to court documents, Blanton used checks belonging to his parents at businesses in the area totaling a little more than $3,100. He is also being charged with stealing cattle and scrap metal from his parent’s farm.

    At the time of the indictments, Blanton and Fannin were already in jail facing drug charges. Investigators say Blanton tried to fill his missing father's pain pill prescription.

    The Commonwealth Attorney says that during a hearing last week, Blanton’s trail was moved to Lawrence County due to media reports surround his parent’s disappearance.

    The trial is set for April 8.

    Authorities say Blanton is still a person of interest in the disappearance.

    Fannin’s trial on the charges will remain in Johnson County.



    UPDATE 12/5/12
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- They have not been seen or heard from in three months.

    Larry and Sandara Blanton were reported missing in September. Now police say the case is turning cold, but family members say they still want answers.

    The animals left behind are the only signs of life on the their Oil Springs farm.

    "It doesn't look good. It doesn't look good at all," said Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price.

    "You can't imagine what's happened, why, where they are, if we'll ever find them," saidSandara Blanton's sister Lois Fraley.

    Family members are not giving up hope, but as time passes by they say they really just want answers, whatever those may be.

    "I'm disappointed of course that it hasn't gone better or faster," said Fraley.

    Officials say they are at a point where all they can do is wait, wait for evidence testing to be finished or wait for any lucky break in the case.

    "We've went down every avenue that we can think of. We've checked every lead that's came into this office both in person and anonymous. Right now we're at a standstill," said Price.

    The couple's son, Willie Blanton, is still being called a person of interest in the case along with his girlfriend Amanda Fannin. They are both behind bars on other charges.

    Police are still asking the public for any information they might have.



    UPDATE 10/19/12 @ 3:45 p.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A son and girlfriend at the center of the disappearance of his parents have been indicted by a grand jury.

    Willie Blanton and Amanda Fanin were indicted in Johnson County. The charges, however, are not directly related to the disappearance of Blanton's parents.

    The couple was arraigned on the charges Friday.

    Willie Blanton was indicted on the following charges:

  • Prohibited acts relating to controlled substance
  • Eight counts of persistent felony offender in the first degree
  • 10 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree
  • Intent to defraud/scheme/artifice to obtain benefits under $10,000
  • Theft by unlawful taking over $500

    Amanda Fannin

  • Promoting contraband in the first degree
  • Persistent felony offender in the second degree

    According to court documents, Blanton used checks belonging to his parents at businesses in the area totaling a little more than $3,100. He is also being charged with stealing cattle and scrap metal from his parents farm.

    Larry andSandara Blanton, Willie's parents, haven't been seen in more than a month. Several search attempts have been made -- but nothing has been found.

    Blanton and Fannin are already in jail facing drug charges. They were arrested a week ago as Blanton tried to fill his missing father's pain pill prescription.

    If Willie is found guilty of the charges, he could face up to 105 years in jail and up to $210,000 in fines. Fannin could face 1 to 5 years behind bars and up to $10,000 fines.

    Blanton and Fannin are scheduled to be back in court on November 16 at 11 a.m. for pre-trial hearings.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/15/12 @ 11 a.m.
    JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Crews spent hours Sunday searching again for a missing couple in Johnson County, Kentucky.

    Larry and Sandara Blanton, of Oil Springs, haven't been seen in a month.

    Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price has been on the case since they couple was reported missing, but at this point, they have little to go on, "They are using nothing, it is like they vanished."

    Sunday two boats and a dive team were at Paintsville Lake for nearly six hours looking for the Blantons. Dozens of volunteers also showed up for the search, but the Blantons were not found.

    "I have been in law enforcement right at 30 years and this is probably the biggest search that I have been a part of," said Price.

    This is the third search for the couple. The first search, dogs were brought in. This time, they expanded with horses.

    "It gives us an opportunity to use the horses on this terrain and get to areas that are hard to access," said Gary McClure, Director of the Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management.

    "They themselves help us to see things, they will alert to things and pay attention to sounds and stuff like that," said Kristie Wehmeyer of Kentucky Mounted Rescue. KMR is a volunteer organization of troopers who train to aid in community service events and rescues.

    Sheriff Price says they plan to do another search in a couple of weeks. Law enforcement and volunteers say they will not give up.

    The Blanton's son Willie and his girlfriend Amanda Fannin have been named persons of interest in their disappearance.

    Willie Blanton is currently behind bars after calling a pharmacy and pretending to be his father to get a prescription charged.

    Fannin is also behind bars on drug charges.



    UPDATE 10/9/12 @ 6 p.m.
    PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- In the troubling Larry and Sandara Blanton missing persons case, both persons of interest are now behind bars, as suspicions increase by the day.

    On Monday, the Blanton's son was arrested.

    The drug charges on ex-convict Willie Blanton add another puzzle piece to the mounting reasons he's the key person of interest.

    Willie’s farm couple parents have not been heard from since Sept. 5 -- and the search is looking more and more like a recovery.

    Sheriff Dwayne Price knew Larry Blanton filled his pain pill scripts at the Paintsville Value-Med Pharmacy -- so he waited.

    When Willie arrived at the pharmacy Monday afternoon to try and fill his missing father's prescription, the known habitual criminal was arrested on the spot.

    The other person of interest in the case, Willie’s girlfriend Amanda Fannin, was arrested last week for flagrant non-support and drug charges.

    After Willie’s arrest, the sheriff asked again -- did you kill your parents and hide their bodies?

    “He kind of got emotional and told me, ‘I told you all I know, I don't know nothing,‘" Price said. "But he's given four or five stories “

    Mary and Philip Jackson are among many neighbors who say the Blanton’s would never leave their farm without good reason.

    “He’s got stock -- any farmer knows he just can't up and leave if he's got stock,” Philip Jackson said.

    Price says as soon as the couple went missing 35 days ago, Willie and Amanda moved from their trailer into his parent's home.

    The sheriff also says Willie has scrounged up all the loose metal on the farm and sold it for scrap. And he says Willie sold off all his father's cattle.

    “They've not been heard from, not used their bank cards or cell phones, it’s like they vanished,” Price said.

    “With him being gone as long as he has, we're fearing the worst but praying for the best -- that Larry and Sandra turn up safe,” Phillip said.

    Following the recent canine search of the Blanton property, Price will again search the Blanton home -- this time using a chemical that can detect blood even if it's mopped up.

    Price says Willie and Amanda have also illegally cashed a dozen or more of the Blantons' checks -- both before and after the vanishing.

    The Sheriff will soon take those charges to a grand jury as he continues to follow leads and gather evidence.

    Many of those leads suggest where the parent’s bodies might be found, Price said.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/8/12
    PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The son of a missing Johnson County couple has been arrested on a drug charge.

    Investigators have called Willie Blanton a person of interest in the disappearance of his parents, Larry and Sandara Blanton of Oil Springs.

    Willie Blanton, 29, was booked in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center Monday afternoon.

    Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price says he was arrested trying to fill his fathers prescriptions at a local pharmacy.

    Sandra's mother told investigators she talked with her daughter about every day until Sept. 5 -- then nothing.

    Last month, Willie told WSAZ.com that his parents went to Florida.

    “I’ve never known them to take a vacation, and they said that's what they were going to do was to get away,” he said.

    But Sheriff Price says Florida was just one of several stories Willie Blanton told him and family members about his parents’ disappearance.

    “He told some they were going camping; he told others they were going to Florida," Price said. "It just doesn't add up. It’s out of character for both Larry and Sandra to leave.”

    Sheriff Price also told WSAZ.com that the Blanton’s' bank and cell phone records show no transactions and no calls since Sept. 5.

    Investigators have conducted several extensive searches of the Blanton’s property since they disappeared.

    His girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, 31, who is also considered a person of interest in the disappearance, was also arrested recently.

    On October 3, she was arrested on a flagrant no support charge. She is also in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/1/12 @ 1:45 a.m.
    OIL SPRINGS, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Sheriffs deputies in Johnson County unleashed an all out search for a missing elderly couple who hasn't been seen or heard from in nearly a month.

    Blood hounds and cadaver dogs were on the hunt Sunday morning, zeroing in on suspicious spots near the farm of the couple's son.

    Larry and Sandara Blanton lived on their son Willie's farm in Oil Springs. Willie and his girlfriend say the pair left for a trip to Florida and never returned.

    "They're not going to be found here, they're not here," Willie's girlfriend, Amanda Fannin said. "They're not here, and Will would never hurt his parents."

    However, the Johnson County Sheriff tells WSAZ.com that investigators have seen no activity on the couple's bank account or on their cell phone. Willie told investigators his parents were visiting his sister.

    "Actually she didn't even get a call from them that they were coming," Sheriff Dwayne Price said.

    Search and rescue teams scoured the surface of the farm Sunday and within a couple of hours found some clues.

    "Sometimes you find a subject and sometimes you don't," Chief Carl Alexander said. "In this case, we haven't been able to find a subject yet even though we have two areas of interest."

    Police say the dogs sniffed out two spots they will test. The sheriff also explained there are two persons of interest in the case who are cooperating.

    "It's been rough, we keep hoping and praying we'll get a phone call that they're all right -- that they're laying on the beach somewhere," Fannin said.

    If you have any information that could help call the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

    Keep clicking WSAZ.com for more updates.



    ORIGINAL STORY 9/25/12
    OIL SPRINGS, Ky. (WSAZ) -- In the search for a missing farm couple, the hope is for the best possible outcome.

    Family, friends and the county sheriff, however, all fear the worst.

    WSAZ.com’s Randy Yohe conducted an investigation that uncovered some disturbing information. He found it’s disturbing to many who know Larry and Sandara Blanton, a semi-retired eastern Kentucky farm couple.

    The Blantons live with their son, Willie Blanton, and the couple has been missing about three weeks.

    Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price says the only stories of their disappearance come from Willie, and that nothing is adding up. Nothing, that is, but an investigation switch -- from a national probe to searching the family farm property.

    The rocking chairs sit empty at the Blantons' hilltop farm house in Oil Springs.

    Price says it was Sandra's elderly mother who lives out of state -- not the son Willie -- who called in the missing person report.

    Sandara's mother told investigators she talked with her daughter about every day until Sept. 5 -- then nothing.

    Willie said his parents went to Florida.

    “I’ve never known them to take a vacation, and they said that's what they were going to do was to get away,” he said.

    But Price says Florida was just one of several stories Willie Blanton told him and family members about his parents’ disappearance.

    “He told some they were going camping; he told others they were going to Florida," Price said. "It just doesn't add up. It’s out of character for both Larry and Sandra to leave.”

    The sheriff says the Blantons' troubling bank and cell phone records show no transactions and no calls since Sept. 5.

    Court records show Willie Blanton is an ex-convict, with a criminal history of burglary and theft.

    "I’ve had people make accusations that I would do something to my parents,” Willie said.

    Yohe asked Price if Willie Blanton is a suspect or a person of interest.

    "He's a person of interest," Price said. "We’re going to bring in canine units to search the property just to be sure. It’s unusual, highly unusual.”

    Price said the Blantons' Dodge pick-up truck never left their Oil Springs farm. Willie told him his parents left in a blue Nissan, but the sheriff says there's no evidence of that.

    We talked to Sandara Blanton’s mother in Ohio. She says her daughter and son-in-law would never leave the farm without notice

    Price says he'll soon bring Willie Blanton in for a third interview. The sheriff also tells us two national missing person databases report no findings on the Blantons.


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