Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, has announced the arrest and formal charges brought against a man by a grand jury for an alleged attempt to kidnap two victims in an area on the Blue Ridge Parkway last month. According to the indictment and information from the federal criminal complaint’s affidavit, on the early morning of Sept. 28, 2023, Evan William Blankenship, 22, of Whittier, N.C., reportedly drove to Waterrock Knob Overlook, where the victims were sitting in a parked vehicle.
One of the victims, identified as L.P., informed investigators that she knew Blankenship through the social media app Snapchat and suspected he used the app’s location sharing feature to track her exact location on the BRP. The affidavit claims that upon locating the victims’ vehicle, Blankenship allegedly aimed a semi-automatic pistol at them, attempting to forcibly remove L.P. from the vehicle by her hair and arm. Additionally, he purportedly threatened to harm both victims, resulting in L.P. sustaining temporary hearing loss from a blow to her face.
The affidavit further alleges that Blankenship discharged his firearm into the air before once again pointing it at the victims. Eventually, the second victim, identified as L.M., managed to persuade Blankenship to release them. The victims promptly reported the incident to law enforcement.
Blankenship’s charges include:
2. Assault with intent to commit a felony (2 counts)
3. Assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm (2 counts)
4. Possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence
Blankenship was apprehended on Oct. 11, 2023, and he is currently in federal custody.