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Fledderman was last seen at the Myakka City Bar and Grill in Myakka, Florida early on the morning of on August 17, 1996. At 6:00 p.m. the body of her boyfriend of eight years, Jefferson Lowry Blanton, was found at the home she shared with Fledderman in the 37000 block of Sixby Road. He'd been shot to death; the murder weapon was never found. A photograph of Blanton is posted below this case summary. There were no indications of a struggle inside the residence, the doors were locked, nothing was missing, and Fledderman and Blanton's pickup trucks were parked nearby. There was no sign of Fledderman and she has never been heard from again. She had left her four-year-old son with her sister before her disappearance.
For years Fledderman was the prime suspect in Blanton's murder and was considered as a fugitive. The police tried to get a warrant for her arrest for murder, but there was insufficient evidence, so instead they got a warrant on the charge of deserting her child. Fledderman and Blanton had a troubled relationship and police were called to their home in response to domestic disturbances several times. Both of them drank to excess. In one incident, Fledderman allegedly shot out Blanton's truck tires during an argument. Blanton was once arrested for assaulting Fledderman, but formal charges were never filed against him. Fledderman obtained a restraining order against him in 1993, saying he'd threatened her, but the couple reconciled and the restraining order was dismissed.
Investigators are now looking into the theory that Fledderman was innocent of Blanton's murder and may have met with foul play herself. She had a stable job as a technician at L-3 Aviation Recorders in 1996 and was a good mother, and it's uncharacteristic of her to be out of touch with her family. It was in response to her family's concern that the police went to the couple's home and found Blanton's body in the hallway. Her loved ones stated she would have never abandoned her son.
Larry James Parks was at the same bar as Fledderman and Blanton on August 17. In 2002, Marks pleaded guilty to three counts of murder in connection with a 1999 triple homicide; he killed a woman and her two young daughters. His fingerprint was found inside Fledderman's pickup truck. Authorities are investigating Marks as a possible suspect in Blanton's murder and Fledderman's disappearance, but no charges have been filed against him.
Fledderman's family had her declared legally dead in 2001. She is still considered a possible suspect in Blanton's murder. Her disappearance remains unsolved.
Manatee County Sheriff's Office