Human Remains Identified as Those of Aniah Blanchard
The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences has now positively identified the remains found this week in Macon County as those of Aniah Blanchard. She had been missing since last month.
More than 100 first responders had been combing a wooded area in the 38,000 block of Macon County Road 2 in Shorter since Monday. There, they had found the remains, but it had taken until now to make the positive identification.
“I am heartbroken for the family of Aniah Blanchard,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a statement. “Like Alabamians across our state, I was praying for a much different outcome. I will be keeping them in my prayers and ask the people of Alabama to continue to do so as well. During this holiday season, it is easy to get distracted in the hustle and bustle, but I urge us all to remember those that are hurting. I appreciate the diligence of the Auburn Police Division, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the many volunteers who were searching for Aniah. She is indeed loved and will be remembered by us all,” Ivey said.
Blanchard, 19, was from Homewood and was a student at Southern Union State Community College. She was the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight fighter Walt Harris.
She was last seen on video at the Chevron gas station along South College Street in Auburn on October 23. She could be seen in store surveillance video. The next day, she was reported missing.
On October 25, Blanchard’s SUV was recovered at Park Place Apartments in Montgomery. Investigators later said evidence in the SUV showed that she could have been the victim of foul play.
Earlier this month, Ibraheem Yazeed of Montgomery was taken into custody in Pensacola, Florida, and charged with kidnapping Blanchard.
Last Friday, a second suspect, Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher, was charged with kidnapping. Court documents show that Fisher may have helped Yazeed by providing transportation and the disposal of evidence.
Police wrote in an arrest warrant that a third suspect, David Johnson, Jr., is believed to have driven Yazeed from Alabama to Florida.
Those involved in the case include the Auburn Police and Fire Divisions assisted by the Alabama Law Enforcement agency’s SBI Unit, a team of anthropologists from Florida Gulf Coast University, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office as well as Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes and staff, the U.S. Marshal Service who tracked and took suspects into custody to include the State of Florida, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s aircraft and personnel, Montgomery Police Department, Central Alabama Crime Stoppers, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Opelika Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Macon County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama Fusion Center, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as well as the Florida Gulf Coast University Department of Justice Studies.
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