Oxygen’s ‘Buried in the Backyard’ brings to light those grim cases where the bodies of the victims are found in, you guessed it, the backyard of a property. The show covers the ensuing investigation that occurs after the body is found and chronicles the efforts taken to get justice for the victim. In one such episode, they discuss a case where a man mysteriously disappeared, and nobody knew what had happened to him until more than a year later.
How Was Sidney Cranston Jr. Killed?
Sidney “Sid” Cranston Jr. was a 40-year-old real estate agent and investor who graduated from Wilson High School in 1992. He then went to the Rochester Institute of Technology after briefly studying at the Niagara County Community College. His loved ones described him as incredibly sharp and intelligent. He even had an IQ high enough to join MENSA in high school. He was also a kind man, and his friend, Andy Raynor, said, “He would take the shirt off his back for you.”
Sidney was from New York but moved to the desert state when he saw an opportunity to earn money through real estate. Before that, he had graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and opened the company Bits-N-Bytes Computer Center with his friend Andy. The business performed well and they even opened up two more branches. However, Sidney did not wish to stop here. Due to high taxes and the poor economic outlook of western New York, the victim moved to Arizona.
There, Sidney found work with an architecture firm in Bull Head. After getting a certificate for civil engineering, he also started his own enterprise named Done Right Engineering. He dealt in real estate, especially fixer-upper homes that could translate into a profit for him. He also found success in doing so. His brother Chris said, “Sid never made a decision by the seat of his pants. He always thought things out carefully.”
Therefore, Sidney’s mysterious disappearance on June 16, 2015, was a shock for everyone that knew him. He was not heard from again after he showed a property to a potential client near Interstate 40. For more than a year after that, neither his family not the police were able to concretely determine what had happened to the Arizonian resident.
In January of 2017, Sidney’s body was finally located at a ranch owned by Don Bishop near Kingman, Arizona. The Medical Examiner’s Officer had ruled his death as a homicide due to a gunshot wound. The father of the deceased, also named Sid, said this about the discovery— “I’m just grateful that the FBI did step in and keep things moving. We don’t have to wonder where Sid is anymore.”
Who Killed Sidney Cranston Jr.?
Ultimately, it was Sidney’s handyman, property manager, and close friend, Alfredo Gerardo Blanco (aka Al), who was convicted for the crime. He was also the last known person to have seen the victim alive. The handyman, who is in his sixties, welcomed Sidney’s family with open arms when they themselves flew into the area to continue the search mission. But soon, they realized that Al could only talk the talk. In fact, Lyle Sharman, the private investigator hired by the Cranston family, also said that all the information pointed towards Blanco as the perpetrator.
Considering that Blanco was supposed to be one of Sidney’s closest friends, his family found it odd when he slowly started distancing himself from the search efforts. When Kingman police could not find sufficient evidence to convict Blanco, the Cranston family asked them to contact the FBI. On January 6, 2018, Blanco’s accomplice would fail and a lie detector test and eventually lead the FBI to Sidney’s body.
Bill Sanders, in his testimony, relayed the same information that Blanco had made him privy to back then. The accomplice was unaware of the real reason Blanco called him to the ranch that day, which was to help him dispose of the dead body. You see, Blanco told Sanders that Sidney and he were at a different property in Kingman before they reached the ranch. Upon arrival, the pair was trying to shoot a rattlesnake, but Sidney got shot accidentally when Blanco handed him the rifle without its safety on. Then, his body was buried beneath cattle pastures.
Authorities believed that both Blanco lured Sidney out on the ranch to steal the rent money (around $2,500) that the latter had collected that day. It is an interesting point to note that Blanco was also identified as the man who had pawned two rings that belonged to Sidney— one from his previous marriage to Jody Nelson and the other for Ivett Colderon, the psychologist Sidney wanted to marry. Plus, Blanco did this just a few days before his boss’s disappearance.
For this crime, Al Blanco was found guilty on all three charges levied against him, including first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Although Sanders faced up to a year in jail for concealing the crime according to his plea deal, the judge decided to place him on probation instead and ordered 1200 hours of community service from him.