Gag order issued in Aniah Blanchard kidnapping case

Gag order issued in Aniah Blanchard kidnapping case
Petition started after Aniah Blanchard’s disappearance for violent offenders to not have bond (Source: Lee County Sheriff's Office)

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Lee County Judge has issued a gag order restricting those involved in the kidnapping case of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard from speaking to the media.

Court records show Judge Russell Bush made the decision on Friday, ahead of Ibraheem Yazeed’s first court appearance in Lee County Sunday. The gag order states the parties and “any potential witnesses” are restricted from speaking to members of the media or making social media posts.

During the Sunday hearing, the media and a representative from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office were not let into the building. We questioned several officials, including the district attorney, but they declined to comment.

Yazeed was identified as a suspect in the case on Thursday, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was taken into custody late Thursday in Pensacola, Florida and transported to Lee County on Saturday where he was placed under no bond.

It has been almost three weeks since Blanchard was reported missing. She is a native of Homewood and a student at Southern Union State Community College in Lee County.

Following Blanchard’s disappearance, a petition calling for violent offenders to not have an option to bond out and to remain in custody until a verdict was reached. The petition has tens of thousands of signatures.

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

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