AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – A Montgomery man described by law enforcement sources as a violent career criminal has waived extradition back to Alabama, where he faces first-degree kidnapping charges in the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard.
Now, the family of another one of 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed’s alleged victims is speaking with News 3 and sharing their heartbreak for Aniah and her family.
Yazeed was captured in Escambia County, Florida, late Thursday night, nearly 144 miles south of Montgomery, where Yazeed lives.
Blanchard remains missing, 16 days after she was last seen at the Chevron gas station along South College Street in Auburn.
News 3’s spoke exclusively with the family of a 77-year-old man who investigators say Yazeed nearly beat to death and kidnapped just months before he is suspected of abducting Blanchard.
In February of this year, investigators with ALEA’s SBI arrested Yazeed and two others after a motorist reported an erratic driver to Macon County Sheriff’s Deputies. When Yazeed was pulled over, a 77-year-old man was found nearly beaten to death inside the vehicle after police say they robbed him at near a Montgomery hotel, almost beat him to death and kidnapped him. Yazeed and two others were charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and robbery. Yazeed was able to make his $280,000 bond and was freed.
Shortly after Yazeed was outed as a suspect in Blanchard’s kidnapping, the family of the 77-year-old east Alabama victim released a statement to News 3. The family asked News 3 to keep their identity private and plan to reach out to Aniah’s family in the future to offer their support.
“We are hurting as we think of what the Blanchard family is going through, but we are hopeful Aniah will be found alive and well. It is hard to imagine how the State of Alabama could release someone this violent from prison only a few months after the attack on our family. We do know authorities that keep all of us safe are doing all they can to bring anyone who is involved with Aniah’s disappearance to justice. We are grateful for the men and women who are first responders.”– Comment from family of 77-year-old victim
Thursday afternoon, investigators released Yazeed was a suspect in Blanchard’s disappearance after he was seen on October 23 surveillance video from inside the Chevron at the same time Blanchard was in the store.
Thursday night, Yazeed was carried out on a stretcher allegedly complaining of chest pains after he became the captured target of a massive manhunt and taken into custody by U.S. Marshalls in Escambia County, Florida.
Friday morning, Yazeed was booked into jail and being held without bond as he will be extradited to Lee County to face charges in the Blanchard case.
“It’s about Aniah and her family. Giving them some peace of mind about what has happened and what has taken place,” said Auburn Police Chief Paul Register.
Police believe others were involved in Blanchard’s abduction, and there is no indication Blanchard and Yazeed knew one another before the alleged attack.
After news broke of Yazeed’s alleged involvement in the Blanchard case, Auburn City Council member Brett Smith posted a screenshot of Yazeed’s prior charges saying, “It shocks the conscience he was allowed to post bond.”
Meanwhile, the search continues for Aniah Blanchard since she was last seen on Wednesday, October 23. Her SUV was located in Montgomery on Friday, October 25. Investigators say evidence taken from inside her vehicle indicates Aniah was harmed and is the victim of foul play.
With Yazeed’s capture, there is hope new information will reveal Aniah Blanchard’s location and answer her family, investigators, and community’s heartfelt plea to bring Aniah home.
Investigators have said they do suspect more people are involved in Blanchard’s disappearance, and more arrests are anticipated. The reward for information stands and $105,000.