According to the Montgomery Advertiser Auburn Police Chief Paul Register confirmed, via a press conference with WBRC, that the human remains discovered in Macon County, AL yesterday are those of Aniah Blanchard. Register said the case regarding Blanchard is now a homicide investigation and further charges against those already arrested are expected.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told the Montgomery Advertiser that his office is still waiting on a cause and manner of death to be determined by a medical examiner.
Blanchard, a 19-year-old Southern Union college student, was reported missing on October 24th. This prompted her stepfather, UFC heavyweight Walt Harris, and other friends and family members to post on social media appealing for information.
Blanchard’s vehicle was discovered on the 25th. The vehicle was damaged and blood evidence inside the car lead investigators to believe that a life-threatening injury had been inflicted there.
On November 7th Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Escambia County, FL. He was charged with first degree kidnapping and transported to Lee County, AL. Authorities stated that surveillance footage showed Yazeed was at the same gas station convenience store as Blanchard on November 23rd and a witness saw Yazeed force Blanchard into her car before driving away.
On November 22nd Antwain Fisher, 35, was arrested in Auburn and charged with first degree kidnapping. Fisher is accused of aiding Yazeed by giving him a ride and disposing of evidence.
On November 25th David Lee Johnson Jr., 63, was arrested in Macon County, AL and charged with hindering prosecution. Johnson’s son is alleged to have driven Yazeed over the Alabama-Florida border while he was a person of interest in this case. Johnson is accused of lying to investigators about how Yazeed left the state, claiming he was traveling with a female in an unknown vehicle.
Johnson’s son has not been charged with any crime.
Johnson was released on a $7,500 bond. Both Yazeed and Fisher are being held without bond. Yazeed was out on a $295,000 bond over unrelated kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder charges when the kidnapping of Blanchard took place.
Those charges stem from a accusation that Yazeed beat two men in a Montgomery hotel in January. One of those men, a 77-year-old, was left close to death after the incident. In 2012 Yazeed was accused of attempted murder after allegedly ramming his car into a police vehicle. A grand jury declined to indict Yazeed on any charges related to that incident.
In 2004 Fisher was charged with capital murder in the robbery and shooting death of a woman in Montgomery. In 2007 he plead guilty to felony murder. He served 3 years in prison after receiving a 20-year sentence (with 17 of those years being suspended).