Human remains confirmed to be UFC star's stepdaughter

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Third suspect arrested in death of Aniah Blanchard

Authorities have confirmed the remains are that of Aniah Blanchard

On Monday, authorities unearthed human remains they said they had “strong reason to believe” were of missing Alabama teen Aniah Blanchard, and Wednesday, they confirmed that notion.

Human remains, which were found along Highway 80 in Macon County in Alabama, were confirmed to be that of the 19-year-old college student.

"It is with heavy hearts that we so confirm today that the remains are in fact of Aniah Blanchard," Auburn (Ala.) Police Chief Paul Register said in a news conference streamed by WBRC. "This case will move forward as a homicide investigation."

Blanchard, 19, disappeared some time between Oct. 23 and early Oct. 24 from her apartment in Auburn, Alabama. She last contacted her roommate Oct. 23, and her vehicle — with scrapes and dents — was found about 55 miles away, so police almost immediately expected foul play. Police also later revealed blood was found on the passenger side compartment of her vehicle.

»RELATED: Police have begun manhunt for suspect in missing Alabama teen case

Earlier this month, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes requested that Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, who was charged with kidnapping in connection to Blanchard's disappearance, be held without bond because of "an extensive history of violent criminal offenses." Hughes also made the request because Yazeed fled Alabama after he was publicly identified as a suspect. Yazeed was arrested and charged with kidnapping Nov. 8.

In a news conference, Auburn Police Chief Paul Register said it was unknown whether Blanchard and Yazeed knew each other.

"We don't have any reason to know that she was familiar with him, but we certainly can't rule out completely that there would have been some knowledge. But at this point we don't have knowledge she knew him." — Auburn Police Chief Paul Register

»MORE: Aniah Blanchard search: Second suspect arrested, district attorney says

On Monday, a second suspect in the case appeared before a Lee County judge. Antwon "Squirmy" Fisher, who is also charged with kidnapping, was denied bond during his court appearance. He had previously been charged with capital murder in 2015, according to a report by Alabama's WTVM.  According to Hughes, in a plea agreement, the now 35-year-old pleaded guilty, dropping the charges from capital murder to felony murder. He completed his sentence. He is being held without bond in the Blanchard case.

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Antwain "Squirmy" Fisher was charged with kidnapping for allegedly aiding Ibraheem Yazeed in disposing of evidence in Aniah Blanchard's case.

Antwain "Squirmy" Fisher was charged with kidnapping for allegedly aiding Ibraheem Yazeed in disposing of evidence in Aniah Blanchard's case.
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Antwain "Squirmy" Fisher was charged with kidnapping for allegedly aiding Ibraheem Yazeed in disposing of evidence in Aniah Blanchard's case.

A third suspect, David Johnson, Jr., was arrested in Montgomery Monday, Lee County D.A. Brandon Hughes told news media Monday. He is being charged with hindering prosecution. Authorities believe Johnson drove  Yazeed to Florida after Aniah’s abduction, where he was eventually arrested.

More than $100,000 in rewards were gathered to support the search for the 19-year-old community college student. Her mother Angela Haley-Harris and stepfather Walt Harris, a UFC heavyweight, put out public pleas on social media when Aniah Blanchard went missing.

Her father Elijah Blanchard told the Advertiser that his daughter had a “heart of gold.” The teenager loved playing softball, and she had considered studying business, art or education.

“I want everybody to know that my daughter is a good person, all the way around. I’m not just saying that because she’s my daughter,” Elijah Blanchard said. “It’s evident she was special to so many people.”

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