Death of Aniah Blanchard

Death of Aniah Blanchard

Death of Aniah Blanchard

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“An autopsy was done and the medical examiner ruled that Aniah Blanchard was killed in a manner of homicide; cause of death was a gunshot wound,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said Monday. Yazeed was previously charged with first-degree kidnapping. He was charged with capital murder-kidnapping Monday.

Aniah Blanchard fought back and ‘went for the gun,’ according to court records

Aniah Blanchard “went for the gun” before she was shot, according to affidavits charging Ibraheem Yazeed with two counts of capital murder, one in connection to the teen’s kidnapping and another in connection to shooting her inside her car.

The court records were filed Wednesday.

Death of Aniah Blanchard
Death of Aniah Blanchard

According to an arrest affidavit, Yazeed was captured on video surveillance in the convenience store at the same time Blanchard was. A witness then observed Yazeed interacting with Blanchard near her vehicle in front of the convenience store, according to court records.

Another gas station’s surveillance then captured Yazeed exiting the passenger side of Blanchard’s vehicle and later re-entering the vehicle. Her car was last seen travelling south on South College Street towards the interstate, according to court records.

Ibraheem Yazeed seen with Aniah Blanchard’s car after she went missing, records say

A person was located by police who said “Yazeed was seen at a residence in Montgomery wearing only shorts, with a gun tucked into the shorts,” according to the affidavit. The court records did not identify this person.

Yazeed was in possession of Blanchard’s vehicle, though the person did not see the teen, according to the court records.

“The subject further advised during a subsequent conversation with Yazeed, Yazeed admitted to shooting a girl, and stated the girl ‘went for the gun,'” according to the documents.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said Monday that Yazeed, 29, would face a capital murder charge and also the death penalty in the disappearance and murder of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard.

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Blood found in Aniah Blanchard’s car after she went missing

Blanchard, a student at Southern Union State Community College, was last seen on video surveillance footage at a convenience store on Oct. 23. The next day her family reported her missing.

Her car was recovered at a Montgomery apartment complex, 55 miles west of her last known location, a few days later, and contained evidence of “a life-threatening amount of blood.”

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A little more than a month after Blanchard was seen last, law enforcement found human remains. Those remains were later identified as Blanchard’s.

Death of Aniah Blanchard
Death of Aniah Blanchard

Three charged in Aniah Blanchard’s disappearance

At the Monday press conference, Hughes said at that an autopsy revealed Blanchard had been shot to death.

Antwain “Squirmy” Fisher, 35, was charged with first-degree kidnapping for aiding Yazeed by giving him a ride and disposing of evidence, according to court records. Hours after Fisher appeared in court for the first time, Blanchard’s remains were discovered and 63-year-old David Lee Johnson Jr. was charged with hindering prosecution in connection to the case.

Yazeed, however, was the sole person responsible for Blanchard’s abduction and death, Hughes said.

At the time of Blanchard’s kidnapping, Yazeed was free on a $295,000 bond on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, robbery and possession of marijuana in connection with the beating of two men in a Montgomery hotel in January. He’ll appear in court Thursday in Montgomery to face a bond revocation hearing on the January charges.

Fisher pleaded guilty to felony murder in 2007 and served three years in prison with 17 years suspended.

A Lee County Judge last month ordered Yazeed held without bond and also ordered him to submit to a DNA test, to compare against a sample found in Blanchard’s car. Fisher is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on Dec. 18.

Death of Aniah Blanchard
Death of Aniah Blanchard

A gag order has been imposed on attorneys, prosecutors and witnesses in the case. Alabama media organizations, including the Montgomery Advertiser, are challenging the order. A hearing is set for Wednesday.

The family of the stepdaughter of a UFC fighter found dead last year was emotional as a police detective testified about how the Alabama college student was found.

Auburn Police Detective Josh Mixon testified in a Lee County courtroom Wednesday that a witness said he was with Ibraheem Yazeed when Yazeed appeared to drag a body, wrapped in a comforter, into the woods near Shorter, Alabama, news outlets reported.

“I can’t imagine what her family is going through,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told WRBL-TV. “Murder cases are ugly. You have to talk about these things. You have to talk about these things in somewhat of a dispassionate way.”

Police previously said Yazeed was seen forcing Blanchard into her car at a gas station in October.

Mixon testified that Blanchard came into contact with Yazeed at a gas station and they left together, according to news outlets. Blanchard and Yazeed then stopped at a second gas station where he went inside and while she remained in the driver’s seat. He returned to the passenger’s seat and they both left, Mixon said.

Yazeed’s attorney, William Whatley Jr., said Blanchard willingly allowed Yazeed into her car, news outlets reported. Whatley said there is no evidence a crime was committed in Lee County because her car was found in Montgomery and her body in Macon County.

Text messages from Blanchard’s phone to a friend that night said she was with a person named “Eric” and that she had “just met him,” Mixon testified.

Hughes, the district attorney, said Yazeed had ill intent because he gave a fake name, and that Blanchard “was lured under false pretenses,” so, by extension, she was kidnapped while in Lee County.

Judge Russell Bush said he found that probable cause exists that the kidnapping happened in Lee County. He said the case would be bonded over to a grand jury.

Aniah Blanchard cause of death revealed; suspect’s charge upgraded to capital murder

The prosecutor handling the case of Aniah Blanchard revealed Monday that the man believed to have kidnapped the 19-year-old is now charged with murder.

Blanchard was abducted in late October near an Auburn, Alabama, convenience store, and last week her body was found in a wooded area in Macon County. The cause of death has now been determined as a gunshot wound, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes announced in a news conference Monday.

Since her abduction, three suspects have been arrested. The primary suspect in the case Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, who was initially charged with first-degree kidnapping, is now charged with capital murder, according to a report by AL.com. Hughes said his office will seek the death penalty.

Death of Aniah Blanchard
Death of Aniah Blanchard

“In the interests of public safety, I can say that the investigation has determined Ibraheem Yazeed to be the lone person responsible for Aniah’s abduction and her murder, and he remains in the Lee County Jail without bond,” Hughes said during the news conference. “Mr. Yazeed remains innocent of any charges against him until his guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher was charged with kidnapping in the case and was denied bond during his court appearance last week. A third suspect, David Johnson Jr., was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, on Monday, Hughes said. He is being charged with hindering prosecution. After Aniah’s abduction, authorities believe Johnson drove Yazeed to Florida, where he was eventually arrested.

Blanchard’s stepfather Walt Harris, a UFC heavyweight, put out public pleas on social media when she went missing. After the news broke that human remains were found, Harris shared a heartfelt message on his Instagram addressed to Blanchard, who was a community college student and avid softball player.

 

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