AUBURN Ala. (WRBL) – A heartbreaking end appears to be taking place in the month-long search for 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard. Investigators say information led them to a rural area in Shorter, Alabama where human remains were located Monday morning in a wooded area just off County Road 2.
“I can confirm that human remains have been found and we have good reason to suspect they are that of Aniah Blanchard,” said District Attorney Brandon Hughes to News 3.
Blanchard’s family has been notified as prayers are coveted for them from the community.
The remains were found not far away from New Hope Baptist Church after Auburn investigators received information.
“During the course of the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard, investigators obtained information regarding the possible location of a body. On November 25, 2019, at approximately 10:45 a.m., Auburn Police, along with members of the Task Force, Lee County DA’s Office, U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, ALEA and Montgomery County Sheriff Office, responded to a wooded area in the 38,000 block of County Road 2 in Shorter, Alabama. After a brief search by Investigators they located what appeared to be human remains several feet into the woodline,” said Captain Lorenza Dorsey.
Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson told News 3 the remains are believed to be Aniah Blanchard. Brunson would not comment on the reasons why investigators believe the remains belong to the teen, nor what condition the body was found in or what was located near the body.
The Department of Forensic Sciences is working to positively identify the remains possibly using dental records. They are also hoping to determine a possible cause of death and state how long the remains had been there.
Monday night, a Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy remains at the entrance of the rural road preventing non-law enforcement from entering the scene. Dozens of investigators are expected to remain in the area overnight as they continue to work the case and protect the integrity of the site. They are expected to be on scene for several days.
Meanwhile, Auburn police tell News 3 they are confident the key players involved in Blanchard’s disappearance are behind bars
“The principle participants, in this case, are all in custody,” said Chief Paul Register told News 3 Monday night.
Two of three men arrested in her abduction remain at the Lee County Detention Facility on no bond as we wait to see if the Kidnapping First charges will be upgraded now that Blanchard’s body is believed to have been discovered.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS IN ANIAH BLANCHARD CASE
Wednesday Night- October 23: Blanchard is seen on video at the Chevron Gas Station along South College Street in Auburn, Alabama. The video is the last known image of Blanchard.
Thursday – October 24: Blanchard is reporting missing to the police by her family. Investigators say Blanchard’s SUV is seen traveling in the early morning hours along South College Street in Auburn, Alabama.
Friday Night – October 25: Blanchard’s black Honda CR-V SUV is recovered at Park Place Apartments in Montgomery, Alabama. The vehicle has been damaged. Evidence is recovered from inside the vehicle.
Thursday – October 31: Police confirm the first time publicly evidence taken from inside the SUV tested by the Department of Forensic Sciences indicates Aniah Blanchard has been harmed and is a victim of foul play.
Monday – November 6: Police ask public assistance in identifying a person of interest seen on surveillance video inside Auburn Chevron gas station along South College Street at the same time as Blanchard.
Tuesday – November 7: 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed of Montgomery named as the wanted suspect in the Kidnapping of Aniah Blanchard. Yazeed is taken into custody in Pensacola, Florida at 11 p.m.
Friday – November 22: Second suspect in disappearance of Aniah Blanchard arrested identified as Antwon Fisher, AKA Squirmy, charged with Kidnapping 1st degree.
Monday – November 25: Human remains suspected to belong to Aniah Blanchard located in Macon County.
November 25: Prosecutors confirm David Johnson arrested and charged with Hindering Prosecution in Montgomery for his alleged role in Blanchard’s disappearance. News 3 subsequently learned during Yazeed’s preliminary hearing investigators believe Yazeed was driven to Florida from Montgomery at Yazeed’s request by a man identified in court as David Johnson.