MACON COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Remains possibly belonging to missing college student Aniah Blanchard were found Monday morning in a heavily wooded area in rural Macon County.
The 19-year-old has been missing for more than a month.
According to the Auburn Police Division, investigators received information about the possible location of a body during the ongoing investigation into Blanchard’s disappearance.
Monday morning, law enforcement searched an area on County Road 2 near Highway 80 in Shorter and found human remains several feet into the woodline. The area is less than four miles from Exit 22 on Interstate 85.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said they have good reason to believe the remains are Blanchard’s.
“A complete investigation is underway by ALEA and Auburn Police to determine the identity and how the victim came to be at that location. The examination will explore if the remains are those of Aniah Blanchard who went missing on October 24, 2019,” Auburn police stated.
Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson described the scene as a densely wooded area. He said without the specific information he doesn’t think the remains would’ve been found.
“I think somebody had specific information because that’s a tough area," Brunson said.
Processing the crime scene will likely continue into Tuesday. Spotlights were being used so investigators could work through the night.
Macon County is between Auburn, where Blanchard was last seen, and Montgomery, where her vehicle was found with her blood inside. Nearly a dozen agencies have been involved in the search for her. The searches have been focused in Auburn, Montgomery and the nearly 60 miles in between the two cities.
Blanchard’s disappearance has made national attention. She is from the Birmingham area and a student at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika.
Blanchard was last seen late on the night of Oct. 23 at a convenience store on South College Street in Auburn and was reported missing the following day.
Two suspects have been charged with kidnapping her. Ibraheem Yazeed was arrested in Florida on Nov. 7. Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher was arrested Friday.
Court documents revealed a witness identified Yazeed as the person he saw “forcing Blanchard into a vehicle against her will and then leaving with her in the vehicle.”
Fisher allegedly provided transportation for Yazeed and disposed of evidence.
A third suspect, David Johnson Jr., was arrested Monday in Montgomery and charged with hindering prosecution.
Blanchard was seen on surveillance video inside the Auburn convenience store around 11:30 the night she disappeared. Yazeed was captured on video inside the store at the same time.
Blanchard’s Honda CR-V was found Friday, Oct. 25 at a Montgomery apartment complex not far from Atlanta Highway. It had damage along its passenger side.
An affidavit stated blood “indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury” was found in the passenger compartment of the SUV. Forensic testing confirmed the blood was Blanchard’s.
Her stepfather is UFC fighter Walt Harris. A reward totaling $105,000 from multiple sources has been pledged toward the effort to find her.
Yazeed and Fisher are being held in the Lee County Jail without bond.