April 22, 2024 | By: Xavier Ford

This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and the University of North Florida’s Applied Journalism class.

Blake Chappell loved baking – especially around Halloween, when he would make candy apples and sell them to the community of Newnan, Georgia.

His mother, Melissa Becker, said he loved Halloween, it was one of his favorite holidays. He looked forward to Halloween every year, not just because it gave him a reason to bake treats and watch movies, but because it allowed him to go trick-or-treating. Blake was always in the spirit for Halloween; at 16, he still went out knocking on doors and even dressed up as Winnie the Pooh.

That year would be his last celebrating his favorite holiday.

On October 16, 2011, Blake, 17, went missing. It was the day of his High School Homecoming dance. Blake and his mother went shopping to get a tie for the dance, they spent all day looking for the perfect tie. Later that day, he was dropped off at his girlfriend Rion’s house, where they took plenty of pictures and headed to their favorite sushi restaurant. Blake and Rion had bonded over their love for sushi – neither one had dated people previously who liked raw fish. “He was the only boyfriend I had who loved sushi,” Rion said.

After dinner, they went to homecoming, where they danced the night away, creating memories they hoped would last forever. Later that night, Blake called his mother to ask to stay the night at his friend Austin’s place. She said he could. It was the last time she spoke to her son.

According to reports, Blake left his friend Austin’s house to meet up with Rion, planning to return to Austin’s after seeing her. However, he never made it back to Austin’s house. At approximately 5:30 a.m., October 16, 2011, was the last time anyone heard from Blake.

Eventually, Austin called Rion to check whether she’d seen or heard from him since the night before. The search for Blake started when his friends began investigating nearby woods and trails. During this time, his mother filed a missing person’s report. Days stretched into agonizing weeks as the community’s search efforts intensified, hoping for any trace of Blake.

On December 19, 2011, a body with two lip piercings was found in a local creek; the body would later be identified as Blake. A $20,000 reward was offered at the time, to find whoever was responsible for his death.

Blake Tyler Chappell was born at 11:11 a.m. on February 7, 1994 in Panama City, Florida. He was the youngest son of Melissa Becker, making him a “momma’s boy,” as his mother described him. According to his mother, Blake was kind, talented, and imaginative.

Anyone who met Blake knew him as a very friendly person; all he wanted was to make people happy. He was hilarious, with a sense of humor and an infectious laugh that could make anyone smile. He was always willing to help the people he cared about the most. Blake was the type of guy to give the shirt off his back; anytime he knew someone needed help, he was there for them.

“Sometimes, he would ask me to make extra food for his friends so he could give it to them if he knew they were hungry,” said his mother.

Blake was like most boys his age; he loved being outdoors, skateboarding, and fishing. He especially loved riding his dirt bike and anything involving music.

He was a very creative and naturally gifted person. Blake loved listening to music, especially rap music, and he listened to some songs often enough that he could recite every lyric. Blake had a binder full of songs that he wrote himself and he would sometimes even rap them for anyone who would listen.

Music played an essential role in his life; he had a natural talent for playing the video game Guitar Hero. He often played with his brother, and when he had the chance, he would convince his mom to play with them to show off his skills. Blake was an expert at Guitar Hero. He played at the highest level with his back to the TV, playing the most challenging song, “Carry on Wayward Son.” For him, music was an outlet and made the relationship between him and his brother even stronger.

The bond between him and his older brother, Michael, was something other people envied. They were a few years apart but were best friends. Like most siblings, they did some things that their parents would disapprove of. One example was taking their younger sibling to get two lip piercings, known as snake bites, knowing it could get them in trouble. Even though they would get into some “good trouble” with each other, his mother said, that did not make them bad kids. Blake and his brother were raised to be goal-oriented, with their heads screwed on straight, working on building future career goals for themselves.

“He was a bit of an entrepreneur; he was always finding something like treats or energy drinks to sell to his friends,” Melissa said.

Blake also was looking at a career in broadcasting. The idea of becoming a broadcaster started when he decided to take a TV news production class in high school, which he loved, said his mother. Blake had a personality perfect for broadcasting, and he had a natural energy that attracted people. That natural attraction that people had towards him is what led so many people to him, including his girlfriend, Rion.

His mother, Melissa, has pushed for justice and advocated for Blake for over a decade. She has started a Facebook Group so people can learn more about Blake’s case and hopefully bring awareness to it.

“I was very proud of him. He might have gotten into a little trouble here and there, but he wasn’t a bad kid,” said Melissa. “I want people to know who Blake, the sweet, loving, creative person, was and not just what happened to him.”

Anyone with information concerning Blake Chappell’s murder is asked to call Det. Marcos Gonzalez with the Newnan Police Department at (770) 254-2355. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a reward, call Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta at (404) 577-8477.

Please consider using the buttons below to share this case in hopes that someone, somewhere will come forward and give this victim and family the answers they need and the justice they deserve.

If you have a loved one that is the victim of an unsolved homicide, please submit their case here for consideration in a future Cold Case Spotlight post.

Newspaper Clippings

The Newnan Times-Herald - March 22, 2024

The Newnan Times-Herald - December 23, 2011

The Newnan Times-Herald - December 23, 2011 (continued)

The Newnan Times-Herald - October 14, 2012

The Newnan Times-Herald - September 22, 2021

The Newnan Times-Herald - September 22, 2021 (continued)

Photo Album

Image provided by the family of Blake Chappell

Image provided by the family of Blake Chappell

Image provided by the family of Blake Chappell

Image provided by the family of Blake Chappell

Image provided by the family of Blake Chappell

Image provided by the family of Blake Chappell

Image provided by the family of Blake Chappell