Despite the objections of his attorney, Ibraheem Yazeed, the suspect in the disappearance of 19 year old college student Aniah Blanchard, was denied bond today by Lee Country District Judge Russell Bush at a preliminary hearing and ordered to take a DNA mouth swab test.
Blanchard is the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight fighter Walt Harris. She was last seen Oct. 23 at a South College Street Chevron convenience store. She was reported missing on Oct. 24. Her car was found with enough of her blood inside to indicate “harm” and “foul play” by the Alabama Dept. of Forensic Science.
Yazeed was arrested and charged on Nov. 7 with first-degree kidnapping.
The approximately 30 minute hearing was attended by Harris, his wife Angela, and Blanchard’s father Elijah Blanchard and mother Yashiba Blanchard. They did not talk to the press afterwards.
The prosecution consisted of Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes and Assistant DA Garrett Saucer. Yazeed was represented by his attorney Elijah Beaver.
According to an AL.com story, Auburn police detective Josh Mixon testified today under questioning from Hughes that a man who witnessed Blanchard’s kidnapping broke down with remorse over not coming forward sooner. He explained how the video showed a man bearing Yazeed’s description entered the store and looked at Blanchard over his shoulder while purchasing an alcoholic drink at the counter.
Mixon continued to explain that the witness, who was bearing a blue jean jacket, and had seen Yazeed previously, entered the Chevron story at the same time as Yazeed. Police tracked down the witness, who said he saw Yazeed forcing Blanchard into her 2017 Honda CRV vehicle against her will.
Under cross-questioning, Beaver asked Mixon about the criminal history of the witness. Mixon replied that all he had seen was a few misdemeanours. He also asked Mixon if any of the evidence found in the car, was linked to Yazeed. Mixon replied there was none at this point, despite prosecutor Saucer previously alleging male DNA material had been found.
Beaver said it was important to identify the witness, but Hughes said in response that the identity of the witness would be revealed if the case went to trial.
Bush did not require the state to reveal the identity of the witness in today’s hearing and ordered a gag hearing.
Yazeed, 29, did not speak at the hearing.
The search for Blanchard continues.