This episode of Murder Calls spotlights the murder of Tyshika Adkins and a case of second time lucky for the detectives investigating her murder.
Cambridge, Maryland, on June 7, 2004, and 22-year-old Tyshika Adkins failed to pick up her 2-year-old son from his grandmother. The boy’s father, Alonza Dennis Jr., picked him up instead and then headed over to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment where he found her dead on the floor.
Dennis called 911 and police arrived at the scene to find no sign of a forced entry or burglary. An examination found that Adkins had been strangled and detectives decided to arrest Dennis and charge him with murder.
However, DNA evidence retrieved from underneath the victim’s fingernails proved not to be a match for her ex-boyfriend and charges against Dennis were dropped. Instead a further investigation turned up a fingerprint match to some found at the scene. These were on an orange juice container that was lying out on the table, out of place in Adkins otherwise very neat apartment.
The match came up when Richard Lavonte Blanks Sr. was required to give his fingerprints as part of a job application. When interviewed he said that he only knew of Adkins through his girlfriend and had never been to her apartment. Police then obtained a search warrant to take a DNA sample from Blanks, one that went on to match with those on the victim.
He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, but at trial his defense said that Blanks had been having a secret affair with Adkins and this was the reason for the presence of his DNA.
However, in 2016 Blanks was convicted of Adkins’s murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Murder Calls – Tears For My Mother airs at 9:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.
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