AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – The Montgomery man investigators suspect of kidnapping and killing 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard is now charged with her Capital Murder.
The Lee County District Attorney’s Office will seek the death penalty in the case.
During a Monday afternoon briefing, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes and the Auburn Police Division confirmed charges against 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed of Montgomery have been upgraded from Kidnapping First to Capital Murder. The cause of Blanchard’s death has been ruled a homicide by gunshot wound.
“In the interest of Public Safety, I can say the investigation has determined Ibraheem Yazeed to be the lone person responsible for Aniah’s abduction and her murder and he remains in Lee County jail without bond,” said Hughes.
Yazeed is slated to have an initial court appearance sometime this week.
“This case has shaken our community to its core and I cannot say enough about how the Auburn Police Division and every other agency involved in this case responded to the report of Aniah’s disappearance. From its first moment’s, law enforcement moved swiftly and methodically to find Aniah’s abductor, her murderer and her. The process of seeing justice done on behalf of Aniah and her family will not be swift but it will be thorough. It is my intention that the response to this horrific crime serves as a warning to anyone who believes they want to come to Lee county and engage in violent criminal behavior. You will be dealt with and the consequences will be severe,” said Hughes.
Blanchard vanished in the overnight hours of October 24th, kickstarting a month-long search for the teen. The search ended in heartache the day before Thanksgiving as the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences confirmed human remains discovered Monday, November 25 in the Shorter community off Macon County Road 2 belonged to the Auburn teenager.
“It with heavy hearts we announce the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences has positively identified the remains as those of Aniah Haley Blanchard. At this point, the case will move forward as a Homicide investigation and additional charges are forthcoming,” said Auburn Police Chief Paul Register after the confirmation.
Auburn police said they received information leading them to County Road 2 and Blanchard’s remains were located several feet into the woodline near a church.
The forensic confirmation kickstarted a new destination for investigators seeking justice in Blanchard’s suspected kidnapping and murder. Investigators said prior to locating Blanchard they had arrested and charged all three “principal participants” responsible for harming Blanchard.
“Everyone that played a role in Aniah’s disappearance is now in custody,” said Chief Register.
Investigators methodically considered their next steps in the case including upgrading charges against the first of three suspects in the case, 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed.
35-year-old Antwon “Squirmey” Fisher of Montgomery is charged with Kidnapping First Degree.
They are both being held in the Lee County Detention Facility. Yazeed has no bond and Fisher was originally given a no bond as well. After Blanchard’s remains were located a judge set a $50,000 bond. However, as of Monday morning, December 2, Fisher remained incarcerated.
David Johnson Jr. is charged with Hindering Prosecution in Montgomery for his alleged role in Blanchard’s disappearance. He has posted a bond.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS IN ANIAH BLANCHARD CASE:
Wednesday Night – October 23: Blanchard is seen on video at the Chevron Gas Station along South College Street in Auburn, Alabama. The video is the last known image of Blanchard.
Thursday – October 24: Blanchard is reported missing to the police by her family. Investigators say Blanchard’s SUV is seen traveling in the early morning hours along South College Street in Auburn, Alabama.
Friday Night – October 25: Blanchard’s black Honda CR-V SUV is recovered at Park Place Apartments in Montgomery, Alabama. The vehicle has been damaged. Evidence is recovered from inside the vehicle.
Thursday – October 31: Police confirm for the first time publicly evidence taken from inside the SUV tested by the Department of Forensic Sciences indicates Aniah Blanchard has been harmed and is a victim of foul play. A “life-threatening” amount of Blanchard’s blood was discovered in the vehicle.
Monday – November 6: Police ask public assistance in identifying a person of interest seen on surveillance video inside Auburn Chevron gas station along South College Street at the same time as Blanchard. Investigators say Yazeed was in the store purchasing an alcoholic drink when Blanchard walked in and Yazeed turns and noticed her as he got change. Investigators say they located a witness who claims he saw Yazeed push the teen into her vehicle and drive off.
Tuesday – November 7: 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed of Montgomery named as the wanted suspect in the Kidnapping of Aniah Blanchard. Yazeed is taken into custody in Pensacola, Florida at 11 p.m.
Friday – November 22: Second suspect in disappearance of Aniah Blanchard arrested identified as Antwon Fisher, AKA Squirmy, charged with Kidnapping 1st degree. Investigators say Fisher provided assistance to Yazeed by providing transportation to Yazeed and disposing of evidence.
Monday – November 25: Human remains suspected to belong to Aniah Blanchard located in Macon County.
November 25: Prosecutors confirm 63-year-old David Johnson Jr. was arrested and charged with Hindering Prosecution in Montgomery. An affidavit indicates David Johnson Jr. lied to investigators about Yazeed’s actions after Blanchard vanished. The affidavit alleges detectives discovered later Johnson III, the son of Jonson Jr., drove Yazeed to Florida and Johnson Jr. later admitted he knew Yazeed was wanted the first time officers came to the residence and that he saw Yazeed leave with his son.
Wednesday – November 27: The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences confirms remains located along County Road 2 in Macon County belong to 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard. The positive identification comes 35 days after the quest to find Aniah began.
Monday – December 2: 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed charged with Capital Murder in the kidnapping and murder of Aniah Blanchard. The state announces it will seek the death penalty.
News 3 will continue to update you. on this developing story.