After weeks of questions and minimal developments, police believe they have recovered the body of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was kidnapped from a Chevron gas station in Alabama late last month. According to TMZ, police say they found human remains in Macon County, Alabama in a wooded area near the location where Blanchard disappeared on Oct. 23.
“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 said.
Police have been searching for Aniah since the day she seemingly disappeared. Days after the Southern Union State Community College student went missing, cops discovered her car – which was covered in blood, at an apartment complex in Montgomery. Police also determined that Blanchard had been harmed and was “considered to be a victim of foul play.”
The prime suspect in the kidnapping, 29-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed – who was seen in surveillance footage at the gas station with Aniah prior to her disappearance, was apprehended in Florida after leading police on a pursuit. He was charged with first-degree kidnapping. Yazeed, who has a lengthy police record, was arrested on Nov. 7 while on bond for attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree robbery in an unrelated case.
A second man, Antwain “Squirmy” Shamar Fisher, was arrested on Friday (Nov. 22) in connection with Blanchard’s kidnapping. It was later reported that a third person, David Johnson Jr., was taken into custody on Monday (Nov. 25) in Montgomery and charged with hindering prosecution.
According to Fox6 News, an arrest warrant was filed on Monday (Nov. 25), which revealed Fisher’s role in the kidnapping. Police said that he assisted Yazeed by disposing evidence and transporting him.
Walt and Angela Harris, Aniah’s stepfather and mother, publicly pleaded for their daughter’s return. During an appearance on “The Dr. Phil Show” earlier this month, the parents said they believed their daughter had been the victim of “a setup.” “Personally, I feel like it was someone that, if it was a setup, that it was somebody who knew Aniah and knew her well,” Angela said on the show.
Walt, who is also a UFC fighter, added, “That gave him the opportunity to get that close to her.”
“A complete investigation is underway by ALEA [the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency] and Auburn Police to determine the identity and how the victim came to be at that location. The examination will explore if the remains are those of Aniah Blanchard,” Auburn police told Alabama’s local Fox News outlet.