The search for UFC heavyweight Walt Harris’ missing stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard has likely come to a tragic end.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said in a statement first released to CBS 42 in Alabama that human remains have been discovered that authorities believe are the 19-year-old college student who was first reported missing over a month ago.
“I can confirm that human remains have been found and we have good reason to suspect they are that of Aniah Blanchard,” Hughes said in the statement.
According to reports, the human remains were found off Macon County Road 2 near Shorter, Ala. and Blanchard’s family has been notified.
Police released details regarding the search and discovery of the human remains as they conduct a full investigation to verify it is Blanchard.
“During the course of the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard, investigators obtained information regarding the possible location of a body,” Auburn Police said in a statement. “On November 25, 2019, at approximately 10:45 a.m., Auburn Police, along with members of the Task Force, Lee County DA’s Office, U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, ALEA and Montgomery County Sheriff Office, responded to a wooded area in the 38,000 block of County Road 2 in Shorter, Alabama.
“After a brief search by Investigators they located what appeared to be human remains several feet into the woodline. A complete investigation is underway by ALEA 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 who went missing on October 24, 2019.”
Blanchard, a student at Southern Union Community College, went missing on the night of Oct. 23 after speaking to a friend on the phone before she was identified on surveillance footage at a local convenience store in Auburn, Ala.
Two suspects have been arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping related to Blanchard’s disappearance. Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, was arrested and charged after police identified him in the same surveillance footage from the convenience store where Blanchard was last seen. An eyewitness also identified Yazeed as the person he claims he saw force Blanchard into her vehicle against her will.
Police later discovered Blanchard’s 2017 Honda CR-V in an apartment complex in Montgomery, Ala. Forensic evidence showed a “life threatening” amount of blood inside the vehicle as police announced they believe Blanchard was harmed and was likely the victim of foul play.
The site where the remains were found is between Auburn, Ala. where Blanchard was last seen and Montgomery, Ala. where her car was discovered.
Following Yazeed’s arrest, a second suspect named Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher was arrested this past weekend and charged with first-degree kidnapping as well. An affidavit in that case revealed Fisher was a suspect after police said he allegedly “provided material assistance to Yazeed by providing transportation to Yazeed, and disposing of evidence.”
A judge has denied bond to both Yazeed and Fisher in the case.
Harris, a 13-fight veteran of the UFC, continually sought help in the search for his missing stepdaughter. UFC president Dana White, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and prominent MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz had contributed to a $105,000 reward that was offered for information that would lead authorities to find Blanchard.