Teens charged in TN, SC following murder, manhunt - FOX Carolina 21

Teens charged in TN, SC following murder, manhunt

Posted: Updated: April 4, 2014 06:31 PM
Deputies issued this wanted poster for the four teens. (Source: Newberry Co. Sheriff's Office) Deputies issued this wanted poster for the four teens. (Source: Newberry Co. Sheriff's Office)
Choppers were assisting in the search in Newberry on Thursday. (April 3, 2014/FOX Carolina) Choppers were assisting in the search in Newberry on Thursday. (April 3, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Deputies look for murder suspects, search abandoned van. (April 3, 2014/FOX Carolina) Deputies look for murder suspects, search abandoned van. (April 3, 2014/FOX Carolina)
The scene of the murder in Greeneville, TN. (Courtesy of O.J. Early/The Greeneville Sun) The scene of the murder in Greeneville, TN. (Courtesy of O.J. Early/The Greeneville Sun)
Deputies look for the suspects in Newberry Co. (April 3, 2014/FOX Carolina) Deputies look for the suspects in Newberry Co. (April 3, 2014/FOX Carolina)
NEWBERRY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The four teens who were wanted in connection with a murder in Tennessee are facing multiple charges in Tennessee and South Carolina on Friday afternoon.

In Greene County, TN, the son of the victim, 16-year-old Zack Blanchard, has been charged with the first-degree murder of his father, according to FOX Carolina's Bristol, VA affiliate WCYB.

The three other teens have been charged with accessory after the fact of a felony and theft of property over $1,000 in Greene County, according to WCYB.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said the teens will also be charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen firearms in South Carolina.

The teens were arrested and charged after a chase that led to a manhunt near Newberry on Thursday.

Foster said the pursuit of the teens started early Thursday morning when a state trooper spotted the suspects' van at a rest stop on Interstate 26 when the tag showed it was connected to a recent homicide. As backup arrived, the suspects took off and fled toward Columbia then took the Main Street exit into Newberry, he said.

Stop strips were put out along Highway 34 and the van wrecked near US 176 and Keitts Crossroads, deputies said. All four suspects got out of the van and ran on foot through a pasture and into the woods, Foster said.

Newberry County deputies identified the suspects as 15-year-old Liam Lawler, 16-year-old Shelby Riley, 15-year-old Daniel Richards-Burchfield and Blanchard. Deputies said the sheriff's office chose to release the names and photos of the juvenile suspects in the interest of public safety so citizens can protect themselves and call 911 if the suspects were seen.

Foster said the three males and the female were wanted in connection to a homicide case in Greeneville, TN. According to Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns, the shooting was reported at a home on Snapps Ferry Road about 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Deputies said they arrived to find Robert Blanchard, 36, dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Foster said they believe Blanchard's 16-year-old son Zack killed his father. He said they do not know how much the other three knew about the shooting or when they met up with Zack, but by now they have aided in the escape and are also wanted.

Foster said the teens were considered armed and extremely dangerous as Tennessee authorities determined nine weapons were stolen from the home - two AK47-style rifles, two shotguns and five handguns. He said the handguns were not found in the wrecked van while the other weapons were recovered.

He said deputies worked with Tennessee investigators to determine which weapon may have been used to kill Robert Blanchard.

"We found a number of high-powered rifles and other weapons inside the van," Foster said. "We don't know how many weapons they took with them when they ran into the woods."

Deputies said the male suspects were all dressed in dark pants. One was shirtless, one was wearing an orange shirt and the other was seen in a white T-shirt, deputies said. The female, who the sheriff said was driving the van, was seen wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants.

Deputies said schools in the Mid-Carolina area were on alert mode on Thursday while bloodhound teams, SWAT and helicopters searched the area for the suspects.

The sheriff's office said the four were located after a farmer saw them running through his field into a wooded area and called 911.

Foster said a SLED helicopter tracked them to a depression in the ground near a creek. A deputy and a state transport police officer were in the area and found the four trying to hide in the underbrush, Foster said.

They waited for backup and the teens were taken into custody without incident, according to Foster.

According to Foster, the teens had no weapons on them at the time they were taken into custody. He said one of them claimed to have dropped them in a creek.

The suspects had communicated with each other through social media since the fatal shooting and were headed to Myrtle Beach, according to Foster.

According to Foster, Riley had been injured at some point after running into a barbed wire fence.

Foster said the teens will be charged as juveniles in South Carolina, but that could be changed if Tennessee officials upgrade those charges.

The teens are being held at the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Columbia while they await extradition to Tennessee, which Foster said may be a slow process.

Copyright 2014 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Newberry County sheriff's investigators have identified the teens as 15-year-old Liam Lawler, 16-year-old Shelby Riley, 16-year-old Zack Blanchard, and 15-year-old Daniel Richards-Burchfield.

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