Authorities confirmed on Wednesday afternoon the skeletal remains found in Alabama are Aniah Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris according to ABC 33/40 news. Authorities also confirmed that the case is now a homicide investigation and the three suspects in custody could see more charges filed against them.
Blanchard went missing in Auburn, Alabama, on Oct. 24. Her car, a black Honda CR-V, was discovered in Montgomery, and after an investigation, it was believed that Blanchard was a victim of foul play. The first person arrested was Ibraheem Yazeed who was found in Florida. He was charged with first-degree kidnapping.
"During the subsequent investigation a witness identified Yazeed as the individual he observed forcing Blanchard into [her] vehicle against her will and then leaving with her in the vehicle" from an Auburn convenience station, the affidavit obtained by the Montgomery Adviser stated.
On Tuesday, Blanchard's friends and family held a vigil for her and her mom, Anglea Harris, spoke to the crowd and said, "She was my heart." And when she talked to ABC 33/40 about her daughter, she revealed what she misses the most.
"Just her laughter and her smile, that's what I'm going to miss the most. Just her happiness because she made life better for all of us," she said.
Walt Harris has been sharing photos and information about Blanchard on social media ever since she went missing.
"Please help!!!! Any info, message me on here or call the Auburn police (334) 501-3140 Please!!! BOLO: Black 2017 Honda CRV Tag: 49BS356 My daughter's name is Aniah," Harris wrote on Instagram.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey released a statement once she heard the news on Blanchard.
She said, "I am heartbroken for the family of Aniah Blanchard. 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."