SHORTER, Ala. (AP) — Investigators continued to comb a wooded area Tuesday where human remains were found that “very likely” are those of a UFC fighter’s stepdaughter, authorities said.
Auburn Police Chief Paul Register told reporters that officers and forensic anthropologists continued to search the area “inch by inch” for possible evidence. Register said the remains found Monday in Macon County are “very likely” those of missing 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard.
He said positive identification is expected to be made within a few days.
“We believe strongly that the remains that we have are very likely Aniah’s, but again we want to be positive and be able to bring closure for that family,” Register said, adding the overriding concern was to “bring those to justice” who were responsible in the disappearance.
Blanchard was last seen Oct. 23 in Auburn. She is the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris.
After the disappearance, Blanchard’s black Honda CRV was found abandoned more than 50 miles (90 kilometers) away at an apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama’s capital city.
Auburn police detective Josh Mixon testified at a hearing last week that Blanchard’s blood was found in the car and that it appeared she had suffered a life-threatening injury.
Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, is charged with kidnapping in the teen’s disappearance. He is being held without bond.
Police also announced they arrested two other men they said say either assisted Yazeed or hindered law enforcement efforts.
Police arrested Antwain Shamar Fisher of Montgomery, on kidnapping charges. In an arrest warrant filed with the court Monday, police said Fisher helped Yazeed by disposing of evidence and driving him.
A third man, David Johnson, Jr., was arrested Monday in Montgomery and charged with hindering prosecution in the case. Police wrote in a charging document that Johnson’s son had driven Yazeed to Florida, but Johnson initially told police Yazeed had left the residence with a woman.
This story has been corrected to show that it is David Johnson Jr.’s son who is believed to have driven Yazeed, not him.