A 22-year-old New Hampshire man is facing a maximum of 25 years to life in state prison after he pled guilty to several felony charges Wednesday in connection with the murder and kidnapping of a man, whose decomposing body was discovered in North Salem in 2011, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said.
Charles Blanchard pled guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree kidnapping, felonies. His sentencing is scheduled for March 27.
Blanchard is the half brother of Jessica Ryan French, a 25-year-old Florida native who pled guilty in May 2012 to similar charges in connection to the murder.
Police said they had two other accomplices – Travis Morin, 25 of New Hampshire and Patrick Smith, 25, of Florida, who were responsible for the death of Epifanio Medina, 65.
Morin and Smith are awaiting trial. Smith was French’s boyfriend at the time of the murder and father of her child, police said.
Police said two horseback riders discovered Medina's body on June 12, 2011. Medina was a FL resident living in Passaic, NJ, at the time. He was known to carry large amounts of cash and wore flashy jewelry, according to the DA's Office. Officials said he was last seen exiting a Passaic liquor store on June 2, 2011 at 4 p.m.
Investigators said family members reported Medina missing on June 5, 2011.
Hi son, Pete Medina, 36, of Union, NJ, said at the time, "There’s definitely foul play,” according toNorth Jersey.com. His father was known in the neighborhood as “Tio,” or uncle. He had six children and worked at a liquor store until he was laid off a few years ago, the son said.
The New York State Police conducted "an extensive, wide ranging investigation," according to authorities. Investigators expanded their investigation both down to Florida and up to New Hampshire.
Assistant District Attorney Nadine Nagler of the Career Criminal Bureau is prosecuting the cases.