UPDATE: Hailey Man Admits To Killing And Burying Victim


By Paul Johnson
By Brittany Cooper

UPDATE, 5/16/14, 5:50 p.m. - Ada County, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) The Ada County Coroner’s Office is releasing the cause of death for the body found in Hailey Thursday.

An autopsy revealed the body believed to be that of 47–year-old Steve Michael Romanchuk was shot several times. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

Positive identification of the body will be confirmed through dental comparisons.

49-year-old Keith Eric Blankenship is facing second degree murder charges in the case.

Hailey, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - A Hailey man is behind bars, facing second degree murder charges.

Wednesday evening, 49–year old Keith Eric Blankenship admitted to Blaine County sheriff's deputies that he killed his neighbor, 47–year old Steve Michael Romanchuk.

Romanchuk has been missing for four months.

Missing person posters indicate that he was last seen on January 15th. He was possibly driving a 97 Chevy pickup.

Authorities discovered the truck in the Sun Valley Lodge parking lot a few weeks later.

A probable cause affidavit reveals Romanchuk's wife Lauraine Philips, told investigators that her husband lent $100 to a neighbor named Keith, and "confronted Keith numerous times at Keith's home about the money."

Blankenship was questioned by authorities early on, even let deputies search his garage.

But, on Wednesday May 14th, he entered the Blaine County Sheriff's Office and eventually admitted to Chief Deputy Harkins, "I killed a man in self-defense...."

When asked who, Blankenship says “Romanchuk.” And later said, "I buried him in my backyard."

On Thursday, the Blaine County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at Blankenship's home.

That's where Idaho State Police detectives Sean Walker and Tyler Barrett found a pile of dead leaves and came across a partially decomposing body.

"We have located an unidentified body, however it's an unidentified body and we have not recovered it as this time," said Sheriff Gene Ramsey, Blaine County.

The ISP Forensic Response Team and the coroner's office are assisting deputies with the extraction of the body and collection of evidence.

"The wife, Lori has been contacted, we have kept her up to date, she has been contacted and she has taken it hard and we've extended our condolences to her and her family," said Sheriff Ramsey.

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