BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Here is a running timeline of the disappearance and murder of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, a Homewood native and student at Southern Union State Community College.
Oct. 23- Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old student at Southern Union State Community College in Lee County, reportedly spoke to a friend on the phone, saying she was going to meet a man she met on a dating app.
Oct. 28- The Auburn Police Department releases video surveillance of Aniah Blanchard walking inside the Chevron gas station on South College Street in Auburn the night of Oct. 23. This remains the last known footage of her before she was reported missing.
Oct. 31- The reward for information on Aniah Blanchard’s whereabouts rises to over $105,000. Much of this came from the UFC and its supporters due to Aniah’s stepfather, Walt Harris, being a fighter in the UFC. The APD considers Blanchard a victim of “foul play.”
Nov. 6- The Auburn Police Department releases an image from surveillance video taken at the Chevron the same night Aniah was last seen. The department considers him a “person of interest.”
Nov. 7- The Auburn Police Department releases the name of the man from the previous day’s video. Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, of Montgomery, is considered a suspect in the case. A warrant is put out for Yazeed’s arrest. Yazeed, who has a lengthy criminal history, was previously out on bond in an unrelated kidnapping and attempted murder case in Montgomery.
U.S. Marshals located Yazeed in Escambia County, Florida and arrest him. Yazeed is subsequently charged with first-degree kidnapping and is extradited to Opelika.
Nov. 8- CBS 42 receives a copy of an affidavit in the Aniah Blanchard case. The court document states information from investigators, who said that Blanchard’s blood was found in her car from the time it was recovered in Montgomery on Oct. 25 that indicated “someone suffering a life-threatening injury.” The document also states a witness allegedly saw Yazeed forcing Blanchard in a car and leaving the scene with her inside.
No. 10- Yazeed has his first hearing in Lee County, where District Judge Russell Bush puts a gag order on the case, barring prosecutors, Yazeed’s attorneys and witnesses from speaking to the media on the case. No media were reportedly allowed at the hearing.
Nov. 14- Aniah’s mother, Angela Harris, goes on “Dr. Phil” with Walt Harris to talk about her disappearance. During the interview, the Harrises state their belief that Aniah’s kidnapping was planned ahead of time.
Nov. 14- Yazeed’s lawyer files court documents claiming that he had been receiving death threats from inmates at the Lee County Detention Facility. He is moved to solitary confinement. His lawyer Elijah Beaver also requests that Yazeed be moved to Montgomery.
Nov. 14- Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes objects to Yazeed’s motion to be moved to Montgomery, forcefully saying that it was the Montgomery criminal justice system that allowed Yazeed to bond out in an unrelated case where he is charged with kidnapping and attempted murder.
Nov. 15- Blanchard’s father, Elijah, and his wife, Yashiba, give an interview with CBS 42 where they maintained their belief that Aniah was the victim of a random carjacking, contradicting the Harrises’ earlier claims on “Dr. Phil.”
Nov. 20- During his first preliminary hearing, District Judge Russell Bush rules there is enough probable cause in the case to have it moved to a grand jury. In addition, Bush upholds Yazeed’s bond revocation and orders that he submit to a DNA test for prosecutors.
During the hearing, Detective Josh Mixon with the Auburn Police Department testified that on surveillance video, Yazeed was seen buying alcohol and looking in Blanchard’s direction while they were both at the Chevron station, the last time she was seen.
Mixon added that the witness who claimed to have seen Yazeed push Blanchard into her care against her will told a female companion about it. He claimed she told him to mind his own business.
Nov. 22- Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping. An affidavit filed that day stated that Fisher was allegedly provided “material” assistance to Yazeed by providing transportation for him, as well as disposing evidence.
Nov. 25- Fisher has his first hearing in court, where his bond is revoked. Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes brings up that Fisher has a violent history, having pleaded guilty to murder in 2006 for his part in a drug-deal-gone bad. Fisher received a split sentence where he only spent three years behind bars
Nov. 25- Human remains are found in the woods off Macon County Road 2, not far from New Hope Baptist Church. Hughes expresses his strong belief that the remains are Aniah Blanchard’s. Law enforcement spend the night processing the scene.
Dec. 2- Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes announces that the charges against Yazeed would be upgraded from first-degree kidnapping to capital murder. In addition, Hughes said his office would be seeking the death penalty against Yazeed.
Jan. 15– A bill written in honor of Aniah Blanchard was introduced in the Alabama Senate. It set to gives judges more power to deny bond for repeat offenders charged with violent crimes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bill stalled.
April 20– Ibrahim Yazeed was charged with biting a corrections officer while being held at the Lee County Detention Center.
Anyone with information about on Aniah Blanchard’s whereabouts should call the Auburn Police Division Detective Section at 334-501-3140, the anonymous tip line at 334-246-1391, or the 24-hour non-emergency number at 334-501-3100.
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