The man accused of kidnapping UFC heavyweight Walt Harris's stepdaughter, Aniah Blanchard, will now face capital murder charges with the prosecution seeking the death penalty.
The remains of 19-year-old Blanchard were positively identified by Auburn, Ala. police last week following a forensic investigation into a body discovered. Blanchard had been missing since Oct. 23. Police previously stated they believed the remains were Blanchard, but the full forensic investigation wasn’t confirmed until Wednesday, Nov. 27.
Police have arrested three individuals involved in Blanchard's death. They initially apprehended 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed and charged him with first-degree kidnapping after he was spotted in the store at the same time as Blanchard on the day she went missing. An eyewitness later identified Yazeed as the person he saw force Blanchard into her own vehicle against her will.
The 2017 Honda CR-V belonging to Blanchard was discovered two days later at an apartment complex in Montgomery, Ala. The forensic team later announced that a “life threatening” amount of blood was found inside with evidence that led them to believe Blanchard was harmed and likely the victim of foul play.
Following Yazeed’s arrest, a second suspect named Antwain Fisher was taken into custody and also charged with first-degree kidnapping. A third suspect named David Johnson Jr. was also arrested and charged with hindering prosecution.
On Monday, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes announced that capital murder charges were filed against Yazeed and that the prosecution would seek the death penalty.
“In the interests of public safety, I can say that the investigation has determined Ibraheem Yazeed to be the lone person responsible for Aniah’s abduction and her murder and he remains in the Lee County jail without bond,’’ Hughes said. “Mr. Yazeed remains innocent of any charges against him until his guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
“From its first moments, law enforcement moved swiftly and methodically to find Aniah’s abductor, her murderer, and her. The process of seeing justice done on behalf of Aniah and her family will not be swift, but it will be thorough. It is my intention that the response to this horrific crime serve as a warning to anyone who believes they want to come to Lee County and engage in violent criminal behavior. You will be dealt with and the consequences will be severe.”
Alabama prosecutors seeking the death penalty in the case of Aniah Blanchard's kidnapping and murder
(Courtesy of FOX10 News - WALA)