Blaine County Sheriff’s Office
May 15, 2014 4:40 p.m.
Keith E. Blankenship was arraigned at 3:45 p.m. this afternoon at the Blaine County Magistrate Court on charges of Murder in the Second Degree in connection with the disappearance of Steve Michael Romanchuk, age 47, of Hailey, Idaho. Blankenship is currently being held on $500,000 bond and remains incarcerated in the Blaine County Detention Facility. A preliminary hearing is set for May 29, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.
On May 14, 2014 Blankenship came into the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office and requested to speak to someone. Blankenship reported that he had not been completely truthful with detectives when previously questioned about Romanchuk’s disappearance. Subsequent statements made by Blankenship to officers during this interview led to his arrest at the Public Safety Facility.
As part of an ongoing investigation the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant today at Blankenship’s residence, located at 14 Deer Creek Road in Hailey. During a preliminary video of the exterior of the residence performed by Idaho State Police, detectives came upon an approximate 8x4 foot pile of dead leaves in the back yard. Unidentified remains were located within the leaf pile. The ISP Forensic Response Team and the Coroner’s Office are assisting Sheriff’s Deputies with the extraction of the body and collection of the evidence. The cause of death and identity of the body are undetermined at this time and awaiting results of an autopsy which is yet to be scheduled.
Romanchuk was the subject of an exhaustive four month missing person investigation by the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office since he was reported missing from his residence on January 15, 2014.
As this investigation is still ongoing, certain details including possible motives are not being released at this time. Additional information will be made available as our investigation progresses. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Gene D. Ramsey