The prime suspect in an alleged kidnapping of a young woman in Alabama appeared to try to play the role of a victim when he was arrested even as Aniah Blanchard remained missing. Officials were still searching for the 19-year-old after police arrested Ibraheem Yazeed in Florida on Thursday night. She was last seen last month.
Video footage surfaced on social media from the aftermath of the arrest, showing Yazeed, 29, being wheeled away on a stretcher by emergency responders. Once Yazeed noticed the news cameras filming him, he seemed to try to bring attention to his head while saying words that sounded like, “they hit me in my face!”
Yazeed’s mugshot showed his right eye swollen shut. “The marshals were the ones who handcuffed him and took him into custody,” Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Major Andrew Dobbs told the Associated Press. “You’d have to contact them about any injuries he received,” Hobbs said.
But, of course, any injury to a suspected kidnapper who was arrested while out on bond for attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery in an unrelated case was secondary to the fact that authorities still did not know where Blanchard is or what happened to her.
The Alabama teen and stepdaughter of an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight fighter Walt Harris is a student at the Southern Union State Community College in Opelika, Alabama. She was last seen in a convenience store at a gas station in Auburn on Oct. 23. Cops later discovered her damaged car at an apartment complex in Montgomery almost 55 miles away. CNN reported that the vehicle was a 2017 Honda CRV and it wasn’t damaged before Blanchard went missing. However, evidence recovered from Blanchard’s car “determined that she was harmed and is considered to be a victim of foul play,” police said at the time.
Yazeed has a lengthy rap sheet and was one of the people caught on surveillance cameras at the same store where Blanchard was last seen.
Citing court records, the AP reported that Yazeed “was freed from an Alabama jail in February after prosecutors said he beat a man unconscious and ‘near death’ in a vicious robbery.” In that case, “Yazeed was armed with a handgun in January when he pummeled William Joseph Fuller” while “[h]e and two other people also stole Fuller’s Rolex watch, rifle, handgun, wallet, bank card, and cash.”
The AP continued: “In 2012, he was accused of ramming his vehicle into a Montgomery police car at a Chevron station and charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. He was fleeing from the two Montgomery officers at the time and plowed into the squad car ‘as the officers exited their vehicle in an attempt to kill the officers,’ a court affidavit states.”
In the meantime, Blanchard’s family was praying for her safe return.
“I am relieved that we can finally obtain some answers and locate our daughter. I am prayerful that the Lord touches this young man’s heart so he will be honest and truthful and tell the authorities where our daughter is located,” Blanchard’s stepmother, Yashiba Blanchard, said in a statement. “These have been some long days and extremely sleepless nights,” she said. “I feel as if the Lord has heard our cries and the community’s cries for help with finding our daughter. We are continue [sic] to put our trust in God and pray that Chief Register and the APD with other law enforcement bring us Aniah and justice.”