The remains of Aniah Blanchard, who had been missing since Oct. 24, were found on Monday in Macon County, Alabama

By Joelle Goldstein
November 28, 2019 12:15 AM
Aniah Blanchard
Auburn Police Department

Authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the human remains they found earlier this week were those of Aniah Haley Blanchard, the 19-year-old stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris who went missing on Oct. 24.

Alabama officials announced the heartbreaking news during a press conference, just two days after cops believed they had found Blanchard’s remains in Macon County on County Road 2.

“It is with a heavy heart that we so confirm today that the remains are in fact of Aniah Blanchard,” authorities said, adding that the case will now move forward as a homicide investigation with additional charges expected to be announced soon.

Police also noted that no cause or manner of death for Blanchard had been determined yet.

Walt Harris and Aniah Haley Blanchard
courtesy Walt Harris

RELATED: Suspect Arrested on Kidnapping Charges in Case of Still-Missing Stepdaughter of UFC Fighter

On Monday, the Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told PEOPLE that authorities had found human remains in Macon County and that they had “good reason to believe they are that of Aniah Blanchard.”

Two men have since been arrested on first-degree kidnapping charges in Blanchard’s case: Antwain “Squirmy” Fisher, 35, and 29-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed.

Yazeed was identified as a person of interest after video surveillance showed him inside the Auburn, Alabama convenience store where Blanchard was last seen alive on Oct. 23. The following day, she was reported missing by her family after she never came home.

Blanchard’s last known whereabouts are difficult to pinpoint, her stepfather Walt Harris previously told PEOPLE. She last communicated with her roommate through Snapchat on Wednesday night, just before midnight, saying she would be home soon. But then minutes later she sent a message saying she was with someone named “Eric,” Harris said.

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When her roommate asked who he was, Blanchard wrote back, “I just met him,” according to Harris.

Harris said it was unlike his stepdaughter to fail to return home, especially when she had work the next morning. She was always in contact with her family, he claimed, so when her brother couldn’t reach her the next day, the family called the police.

Two days after Blanchard was reported missing, police found her car nearly 60 miles away in Montgomery. Blood evidence recovered from her vehicle shows that she suffered a “life-threatening injury,” a police affidavit said earlier this month.

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Yazeed, who was arrested in Florida, is being held without bond as he awaits a hearing to be extradited back to Alabama. He has not yet entered a plea, and police records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.

Fisher is from Montgomery, Alabama, according to WRBL. An attorney for Fisher could not immediately be identified.

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