Arrest made in 26-year-old Sealy murder case

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The prime suspect in a 1991 Sealy homicide case has been captured in Mexico, Sealy Police Sgt. James Long confirmed Tuesday.

Blas Tierrablanca, now in his early 60s, has been charged with the murder of 35-year-old Brenda Smith at the former Stephen F. Austin Motel on Circle Drive in Sealy. The 26-year-old case was the department’s only unsolved murder.

Acting Police Chief Jay Reeves said he and Long began looking into the case in November 2016. Tierrablanca had always been the prime suspect, but because he reportedly fled to Mexico shortly after the crime was committed, authorities had difficulty locating him. They now are in the process of securing his extradition back to Austin County. Sealy authorities have been working closely with the FBI, and an anonymous tip about Tierrablanca’s whereabouts in Acuna, Mexico, recently was called in to the Austin County District Attorney’s Office.

Warrants have been issued for Tierrablanca for two subsequent murders that occurred in Mexico.

“He wasn’t an upstanding citizen,” Long said.

The sergeant notified Smith’s family members, who no longer live in the Sealy area, on Tuesday morning, that a suspect was apprehended and charged with murder.

“We’re satisfied that we brought the family some closure,” Reeves said. “We both put ourselves in their places.”

The original case file was thorough, Long said, and charges could be filed based on physical evidence and witness statements. A video of the crime scene also exists. Once apprehended, Tierrablanca confessed to the crime.

“He basically told us what we already knew,” Reeves said. 

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