Auburn police today positively identified found human remains on Monday in Macon County as those of missing 19-year-old teenager Aniah Blanchard.
The positive identification moves the case forward as a homicide investigation with additional charges possible.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences has positively identified the remains as those of Aniah Haley Blanchard,” an Auburn Police press release said.
“At this point, the case will move forward as a homicide investigation, and additional charges are forthcoming.”
The loss of Aniah Is an unimaginable tragedy and UFC extends its deepest condolences to Walt and his family during this difficult time.
We thank everyone for their support, including local and state Alabama law enforcement, media, athletes, managers and fans. pic.twitter.com/XmjcKsmO89
— UFC (@ufc) November 27, 2019
The remains were found specifically in the 38,000 block of County Road 2 in Shorter, Alabama.
While this development may provide some closure for Aniah’s stepfather, UFC heavyweight fighter Walt Harris and his wife Angela, officials are waiting to conduct an autopsy to determine the official cause of her death, according to Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes.
Condolences echoed across social media as the news of the positive identification spread.
This is Aniah Blanchard. Aniah was found today yet will not be coming home for Thanksgiving, Christmas nor New Years 2020. Never forget Aniah, she is your daughter, she is your sister, she is a young black woman at the gas station #aniahblanchard #findaniah pic.twitter.com/bd6IXPlp72
— Londel (@LonerNotLonely_) November 26, 2019
David Lee Johnson Jr., Ibraheem Yazeed, and Antwain Shamar Fisher are the three people charged in connection with the case. Johnson Jr., was released on $7,500 USD bond while his case proceeds through the courts, Yazeed is in custody as his case was sent to the grand jury, while Fisher was released on $50,000 USD bond while his case continues.
All of the cases have gag orders which continue to be in effect.