Homewood community still holding out hope for Aniah Blanchard’s return after suspect appears in court

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HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — The preliminary hearing for the man accused of kidnapping Aniah Blanchard took place this morning. Ibraheem Yazeed was ordered to provide DNA and was denied bond.

The case will head to a grand jury, who will decide if there is enough evidence to indict Yazeed. If he is indicted, the case will go to trial.

District Judge Russell Bush said the gag order will remain in effect and ruled the witness that saw Yazeed force Aniah into her vehicle will remain anonymous.

Yazeed has been in the lee county detention center for nearly two weeks. In Homewood– the community is continuing to pray for Aniah’s safe return.

“We pray with everything we have god, that you return her to her loved ones,” Senior Pastor Brian Erickson at Trinity United Methodist said.

Aniah was last seen on Oct. 23 at a gas station in Auburn.

“I think it’s just so important for the community to know that we have not forgotten and for the family to have the support that we can give,” Judy Allen said.

“That they get her home and they get answers,” Barry Smith said. “They deserve to know what happened to their little girl.”

Wednesday marks four weeks since the teen has been missing. Aniah’s Homewood community wants the family to know, they’re here for her.

“That we care for them and we have not forgotten about what they’re going through,” Smith said. “It keeps us together as a community, still thinking about Aniah and working to bring her home.”

Trinity United Methodist will continue to host prayer vigils on Wednesday nights until Aniah is reunited with her family.


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