Nothing can ever replace the loss of a child. Nothing can fill the void left in a parent's heart. All that can be done is to try and carry on.
Following the tragic loss of his 19-year-old stepdaughter, that is where UFC heavyweight Walt Harris finds himself, trying to pick up the pieces for himself and his family.
After police confirmed they had identified the remains they had recently found as those of Aniah Blanchard, Harris's stepdaughter, he posted a statement on Instagram, promising her that he would carry on.
My sweet baby girl... I just wanna thank you for helping me change my life for the better... For teaching me how to be a man and a better father! For being my biggest fan win, lose , or draw! For always knowing what to say to put a smile on my face and lift me up when I was down and wanted to give up. You light up my world I’m so many ways. This pain is unbearable... I know you want me to be strong but it so hard baby it so hard. I’m gonna find away I promise you I will. Right now nothing makes sense and I’m so lost. I just want you back. I hope I made you proud... I’m gonna keep going daddy just needs time. I love you so much. Look after us like you always did. We need you now more than ever. My lil mighty mighty tiger is a angel now. I love you baby girl forever and ever!
Blanchard went missing on Oct. 23, but her remains were discovered and eventually identified earlier this week.
"I’m devastated to hear this news. I’m heartbroken for Walt and his family," UFC president Dana White said on Wednesday. "Thank you everyone for the support including the local and state Alabama law enforcement, media, athletes, managers and fans."
Aniah Blanchard's death now being treated as a homicide, several arrests made
Prior to finding and identifying Blanchard's remains, police 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. An eyewitness later identified Yazeed as the person he saw force Blanchard into her own vehicle against her will.
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.
The kidnapping case is now being treated as a homicide investigation by police.