Update – November 27, 4:18 p.m.: The remains in question have been identified as Blanchard’s. A third suspect, David Johnson Jr., was arrested Monday for allegedly hindering prosecution. Police said Wednesday that this case is now a homicide investigation, and more charges are pending. Our original article is below.
The search for missing 19-year-old Aniah Haley Blanchard appears to have reached a tragic end. Police in Auburn, Alabama say on Monday they got information leading them to human remains several feet into a woodline in Macon County. They announced that there are working to determine the victim’s identity, including whether this is the missing young woman.
A local prosecutor said that human remains authorities discovered are believed to Blanchard’s.
“I can confirm that human remains have been found in Macon County on County Road 2 and we have good reason to believe they are that of Aniah Blanchard,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told The Associated Press.
Blanchard was last heard from on October 23, police said. Her damaged 2017 Honda CR-V was found a few days later. Earlier this month, cops announced the arrest of Montgomery resident Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, for first-degree kidnapping.
The defendant waived fighting extradition in a hearing on November 8 in Florida. He would face the criminal case in Alabama. He was denied bond. A detective testified that according to a witness, Yazeed forced Blanchard into her vehicle. A judge ordered a DNA test for the defendant after male DNA was allegedly found in the vehicle.
Blanchard’s disappearance caught national attention in part because her stepfather is Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight Walt Harris. From earlier this month:
God said when two or more gather in his name he is present… Tonight we gather with faith and hope for a safe return of our daughter and all missing children. Join us in prayer in person or in your own quiet time.… https://t.co/fc0BRUXDZI
— Walt Harris (@thebigticket205) November 4, 2019
[Image via Auburn Police Department]