How would you feel if you discovered a dead body in your backyard? For some, it is simply a harrowing thought. For others, it can be a reality. In fact, this is where Oxygen’s ‘Buried in the Backyard’ comes into the picture. The premise of the show is quite self-explanatory, in that it chronicles the investigation that follows the discovery of the body. In the process of doing so, however, it also reiterates the grim consequences of such crimes across the country.
Who Are Alfredo Gerardo Blanco and Bill Sanders?
To answer this question, let us look at the events that transpired in Arizona on June 16, 2015. 40-year-old Sidney “Sid” Cranston Jr. mysteriously disappeared in Kingman after apparently showing a property to a potential client. He was a real estate investor and realtor who moved to the desert from New York because he saw big bucks in the housing market there. The victim was last seen at a property near Interstate 40. Sidney’s body was not discovered until more than a year later, in a ranch owned by Don Bishop. The Medical Examiner’s Officer also ruled that Sidney had died due to gunshot wounds, hence declaring it a homicide.
Bill Sanders is the man that led the FBI to the burial site, and Alfredo Gerardo Blanco is the one who was eventually convicted for Sidney’s murder. Alfredo “Al” Blanco was very close to the victim and also worked for Sidney as his property manager and handyman. The investigation revealed that both Sidney and Al’s cell phones pinged off the same towers near the Hualapai Mountains on the day of the disappearance. Authorities initially determined that Al and his accomplice had lured the victim on the ranch to steal the rent money Sidney had collected that day.
A few days before the disappearance, Al had pawned off two rings that belonged to Sidney. One was from his previous marriage to Jody Nelson, and another was supposedly a ring for Ivett Colderon, the psychologist he had been dating and wanted to propose to. Plus, Lyle Sharman, the private detective hired by the family to look into the case, also said that all roads led to Blanco. The latter was a man who had once been with the family at every step of the search mission. But Blanco, now in his sixties, started slowly distancing himself from it when more incriminating information surfaced.
Where Are Alfredo Gerardo Blanco and Bill Sanders Today?
On January 6, 2018, Bill Sanders failed a polygraph test and eventually led the authorities to the site where Sidney’s body had been found. At the trial, Sanders testified against Blanco. The former claimed that he did not step forward with the truth earlier as he was worried about his family’s safety. In fact, he also stated that he was unaware that Sidney had been killed. He only found that out when Blanco called him to the ranch and showed him the body in person. Sanders also stated that whenever he suggested going to the cops with the truth, Blanco threatened him by saying, “Have you ever lost someone close to you?”
During his testimony, Sanders, who had entered a plea deal, also stated that Blanco had told him that the incident was actually an accident. What had allegedly happened was that Sidney and Blanco had actually gone to the ranch and were trying to hunt down a rattlesnake. But the gun’s safety was off, and when Blanco handed it to his employer, it accidentally fired, killing him in the process.
Not too long after the incident, Blanco suffered a stroke. He was admitted to the Kingman Regional Medical Center, and later, was shifted to a rehabilitation center in Maricopa County. In court, when Blanco’s lawyer, Robin Puchek, asked Sanders how he could be afraid of a man who was not even in the area, the accomplice replied by stating that he did not know what kind of contacts the accused had. Bill also told the judge, “I walked into something so horrific. I have images of this on a daily basis. I have nightmares.”
Bill Sanders, then 56, was not imprisoned for his involvement in the crime. Mohave County Superior Court Judge, Rick Lambert, also noted that Sanders was scared for his family especially because Blanco had already killed Sidney, and may not have hesitated to do so again. In the end, Bill received 1,200 hours for community service and was placed on probation. The judge said, “This potentially could have been a cold case for the rest of our lives. They may never have found Sid.”
On the other hand, Blanco was convicted of all three charges levied against him— first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, and abandonment of a body. He was awarded life in prison. It must be noted that the first trial actually resulted in a mistrial, and it was the second trial that led to his indictment. He also showed up in a wheelchair for the hearings.
Read More: Where is Chris Cranston Now?