Suspect in Aniah Blanchard disappearance to be brought to Alabama

Blanchard has been missing for more than two weeks
Updated: Nov. 8, 2019 at 4:19 PM CST
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ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WSFA) - Ibraheem Yazeed is being transported back to Alabama after appearing in an Escambia County, Florida courtroom Friday afternoon.

According to Florida State Attorney Bill Eddins, Yazeed waived his extradition, which cleared the way for him to be brought back to Alabama.

Yazeed appeared at the hearing Friday in his jail clothing and was responsive when he was addressed by the judge.

Eddins said the only thing Yazeed said was he didn’t want a lawyer, he waived his right to extradition and he would like to make a phone call. Eddins didn’t know who Yazeed wanted to call.

Eddins said the hearing lasted about 15 minutes, and he was “pleased” they were able to find a judge to hear this case as soon as possible.

Yazeed is a suspect in the disappearance of Lee County college student Aniah Blanchard. A warrant was issued Thursday for his arrest on a first-degree kidnapping charge.

The U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force took him into custody shortly before midnight Thursday on Pine Forest Road in Pensacola, Florida.

According to the U.S. Marshals, when they found Yazeed he didn’t comply with verbal commands.

“The Task Force members then had to physically remove him from his hiding spot,” said Inspector Dominic Guadagnoli.

Video from the scene where he was arrested showed Yazeed being put into an ambulance on a stretcher.

Blanchard, 19, has been missing for more than two weeks. Eleven agencies are actively searching for Blanchard on foot with K-9 units and from the air with hopes of bringing her home. Authorities have been focusing their search efforts in Auburn, Montgomery and the area in between.

According to a newly obtained affidavit in the case, a witness identified Yazeed as the person he saw “forcing Blanchard into a vehicle against her will and then leaving with her in the vehicle.”

Surveillance video shows Blanchard and Yazeed at a convenience store on South College Street in Auburn at the same time on the night of Oct. 23, according to police.

The probable cause affidavit also states blood evidence, found in the passenger compartment of Blanchard’s 2017 Honda CR-V, “was indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury.” The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences later confirmed the blood was Blanchard’s.

Blanchard’s Honda CR-V was found Friday, Oct. 25 at a Montgomery apartment complex not far from busy Atlanta Highway. It had fresh damage along its passenger side. Days later on Oct. 31, police confirmed evidence found inside the vehicle indicated she had been harmed.

Prior to Yazeed’s arrest he was out of jail on bond for attempted murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of first-degree robbery in connection with a February case out of Montgomery. Before noon on Thursday, Montgomery District Court Judge Pamela Higgins revoked his combined $280,000 bond and ordered his arrest.

She was reported missing on Oct. 24. Auburn police said she spoke with a friend just before midnight the night before. It was the last time anyone has heard from her.

A statewide task force working to locate 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard. Auburn and Montgomery...
A statewide task force working to locate 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard. Auburn and Montgomery police have partnered with several other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to try and find the missing teenager from Homewood.(WBRC)

Blanchard is a native of Homewood and a student at Southern Union State Community College in Lee County. Her stepfather is UFC fighter Walt Harris.

A reward totaling $105,000 from multiple sources has been pledged toward the effort to find her.

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