19-year-old Aniah Haley Blanchard was reported missing on October 24th, 2019. Police caught her last location on a Chevron surveillance camera at 1599 South College Street in Auburn, Lee County, Alabama. Footage shows a man, Ibraheem Yazeed, following her inside and out of the service station, and a witness recalls this suspect forcefully shoving Aniah inside her own car before driving off.
A caring girl
Friends of Aniah describe her as a nurturing personality, always wanting to help those in need, and desiring to care for others. Her mother Angela Haley-Harris is a registered nurse and thought of her daughter as a best friend. Haley-Harris told the Montgomery Advertiser that her daughter “and I were like best friends.” She continues on reminiscing about Aniah and saying, “I could tell her anything and she wouldn’t tell a soul.”
Aniah Blanchard was a student of Southern Union State Community College, where she was studying early childhood education and on board to transfer to Auburn University when she was abducted. After failing to report for her morning nanny job, family informed police of Aniah’s absence.
Stepdaughter of UFC fighter
To attract public interest in Aniah Blanchard’s case, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) stepped up and pooled together a large reward of $105,000 for the information and conviction of the person responsible for the abduction. Aniah’s stepfather is UFC heavyweight fighter Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris.
Kidnapped in her own car
Adding to the mystery of Aniah Blanchard’s disappearance was her battered car, a 2017 Honda CR-V, which was found at an apartment complex in the 6100 block of Boardwalk Boulevard near Atlanta Highway. As I mentioned, previously Aniah was last seen on the gas station CCTV footage entering the service station.
A witness sees the abduction
A citizen, pumping gas, witnessed the abduction and identified Ibraheem Yazeed as the perpetrator. Police arrested Yazeed near Pine Forest Road and Interstate 10 with the help of the U.S. Martials. He was expedited from Florida back to Alabama and charged under a warrant of first-degree kidnapping.
Ibraheem Yazeed is no stranger to trouble. Since Alabama has accused 2001 Yazeed of two counts of first degree robbery, two attempted murder charges, multiple possession charges of drugs including crack cocaine, and even aggravated assault and battery of a police officer. In 2018 he was serving a prison sentence for two counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery, in which he nearly beat a man to death in a hotel room. Yazeed was out on bond when he murdered Aniah Blanchard.
Died of gunshot wound
According to court documents, Yazeed admitted to “shooting a girl”, although I don’t believe he told police any other details on the murder. What prosecutors surmise is that Yazeed was in the driver’s seat and Aniah attempted to reach for his loaded handgun. Aniah Blanchard than fought her attacker while the car was in motion, careening it off the road. Aniah died of a gunshot wound.
Yazeed is currently in prison for the murder of Aniah Blanchard where he faces two capital murder charges, one for her death and another for shooting the firearm inside the vehicle. Aniah’s mother, Angela Haley-Harris has spent much of her time propositioning for a new addendum to the current legislation, referred to as Aliah’s Law, which will make it more difficult for a convicted felon to be released on bond, such as Yazeed was.