In October of 2021, New Providence Middle School SRO Dwayne James contacted Vanessa Blanchard to inquire why her 12-year-old son was not at school, he was informed the child had died as the result of a seizure two days prior. The school announced the child’s death and had a fundraiser to pay for funeral expenses, which Blanchard said would be at Sykes Funeral Home.
When the school contacted the funeral home to donate the money, they had no record of the family or any arrangements. The school reached out to Blanchard again, and she explained the child’s body was at Tennova, awaiting an autopsy. Two weeks later, the child’s school-issued laptop was realized to be active at the Vacation Motor Motel. Deputies responded to the location and found the boy in the room, but otherwise alive and well.
Vanessa Blanchard admitted to leaving the child there alone and checking on him every other day, or so. Blanchard is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child, and fraud – false impression of death. She remains jailed on a $5,000 bond.