The tragic murder of Amanda Blackburn is steadily moving in the direction of the capture of her killer. Police have been able to gather evidence that was left behind at the crime scene when she was initially attacked this past Tuesday, and there is surveillance footage that police obtained near Blackburn's home in Indianapolis, Indiana. Assistant Commander Eric Hench has been quoted as saying "To the individual who committed this crime: You are not as good as you think you are. You left behind evidence."
There are also neighborhood witnesses who reportedly saw a man in the area, and the surveillance footage revealed, "Images of a male between 5 feet 4 and 5 feet 9 inches tall and of slim-to-medium build, who was wearing light-colored pants and a two-toned hoodie. Police said he tried to conceal his face from neighbors," according to the Indy Star.
Amanda Blackburn, only 28, was removed from life support on Wednesday and pronounced dead by coroners on Thursday. She was the wife of Pastor Davey Blackburn of Resonate Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was 12 weeks pregnant with their second child. It's believed she gave her life while protecting their toddler son, who was in his crib at the time of their house was being burglarized and her shooting took place. Their toddler son is still alive. A home close to theirs was also burglarized, and the two crimes are now believed to be related.
The couple had moved from South Carolina to plant Resonant Church in 2012. The pastor of the young church has boldly addressed various topics on relationships, resolving conflicts, and the Biblical perspective of sex.
The couple initially met when Amanda's sister introduced them and set them up to go on a blind date. Her sister was dating Davey's best friend at the time. They attended the concert of Christian band Hawk Nelson.
There is a reward of $1000 being offered for anyone who has additional information that leads to the arrest of Amanda Blackburn's killer. Information can be passed along by calling Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.
As for how Pastor Blackburn is holding up, his ministry colleague Pastor Mike Colaw was called to the hospital on Tuesday shortly after the tragedy. He notes on his blog that he was, "...Floored, literally tearing up with what I experienced. Hope. Powerful deep hope...Their faith in heaven and in Christ was just as clear as the sun breaking through the clouds after a storm. Then it hit me. Hope in Jesus stands clearest when it isn't competing for anything else."
Colaw added that no one is ever, "ready for a tragedy like this, but in a way they were," because of their personal relationship with Jesus. When a person has Jesus, He gives that person strength to persevere in a tragedy when a choice is made to run toward Him rather than turn away from Him. Jesus also provides hope that there is still a future, even in the midst of the pain people encounter in the midst of this fallen world.
Colaw further states that "The greater Blackburn family is amazing! I watched Dr. Jim Blackburn (Grandpa) reassure the family and bring hope in a way I have never seen before. I pray I can be a man of hope like him one day!
I am afraid popular media is missing the real main story. The truth is people die every day. Christians are even killed regularly around the world. The real story isn't the hardship this awesome family has to face; it's the strength that is carrying them through. That's what is truly newsworthy. The extended family has a real faith and wow, is it powerful."
In a statement he released at the Resonate website, Pastor Blackburn wrote, "It's impossible to communicate all the emotions my heart has been forced to process. My wife was such a beautiful, gracious, loving woman of God. I have not only lost my ministry partner and support but also my very best friend. There is no way to prepare yourself for circumstances like these. As deeply as I am hurting I am hopeful and confident that good things will come of this. I rest in the truth of Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.
Thank you for understanding my desire to take these next few days to continue to grieve for Amanda Grace. My focus right now is to let The Lord minister to my heart as I continue to shepherd little Weston's. I'll be taking this time to focus on being a great follower of Jesus, dad, family member, and pastor to our growing church.
Amanda made it her life's calling to love and serve everyone she knew. Even more, she has made it her life's mission to see as many people as possible come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. I know that in her death and legacy even more people will come to a saving faith in Christ. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt her desire for me would be to continue what we've started here in Indy. I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come."
On the church's Facebook page, he announced that the church would hold their weekly service this coming Sunday as they always have in the past. Amanda's life will be "celebrated" Sunday evening at 5:00 pm at Traders Point Christian Church at 5:00 pm.