Blankenship Accused of Abducting Two Girls
Authorities charged Terry Blankenship on Tuesday with abducting two female juveniles in January, and the investigation into accusations he sexually assaulted the girls is ongoing.
Blankenship, 58, of Wheeling was denied bond by Ohio County Magistrate Charles Murphy and remains lodged in the Northern Regional Jail on two counts of child abduction.
According to Ohio County sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Ernest, Blankenship allegedly lied to the parents of three juveniles, as well as a third adult, to get the two girls alone at a residence, where they say he sexually assaulted them.
Blankenship on Jan. 27 allegedly told the mother of a 5-year-old girl he was taking her daughter to a 22nd Street residence to stay with another juvenile. Blankenship then told the guardian of a 3-year-old girl he was taking her and her juvenile brother to a Triadelphia residence for a birthday party, Ernest said.
According to Ernest, Blankenship told the resident of that Triadelphia home to watch the boy while he stayed with the two girls at one of their homes in Warwood.
Blankenship then took the girls to another location, which Ernest declined to disclose, where the girls allege he sexually assaulted them.
A preliminary hearing before Ohio County Magistrate Joe Roxby has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 24. As of Wednesday, Blankenship had not been appointed an attorney.
A charge of child abduction carries a potential life sentence.
The investigation into the allegations of sexual assault continues, Ernest said, and additional charges against Blankenship may be filed.
Ernest said the alleged crimes were reported to the sheriff’s department shortly after they occurred.
An investigation was subsequently launched and a warrant for Blankenship’s arrest was filed June 7 in Ohio County Magistrate Court.
Police in Strasburg, Ohio, along with federal marshals, arrested Blankenship Aug. 8 after learning he was staying at a hotel in that area.
Blankenship waived an extradition hearing before an Ohio judge prior to being transported back to West Virginia, where he was served with the arrest warrant and booked into jail.
U.S. Marshal Chad Simpson said he believes Blankenship fled to Strasburg after local media reported he was wanted by law enforcement.