AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes announced Monday that charges in the death of Aniah Blanchard have been upgraded.
Hughes said Ibraheem Yazeed, originally charged with kidnapping, will now be charged with capital murder after Blanchard’s body was found in Macon County. Hughes said an autopsy determined Blanchard died from a gunshot wound.
“This case has absolutely shaken our community to its core, but I cannot say enough about the job that Auburn Police Division and every other agency involved in this case responded to the report of Anaiah’s disappearance,” Hughes said.
Hughes also announced the death penalty will be sought against Yazeed. Hughes said officials have determined Yazeed was the lone person involved in the abduction and murder of Blanchard.
“The process of seeing justice done for Aniah and her family will not be swift, but I can promise you it will be thorough,” Hughes said.
Auburn Police Chief Paul Register confirmed Wednesday remains found in rural Macon County last week were Blanchard’s. He said the case would move forward as a homicide investigation, and additional charges were forthcoming.
Two other people have been charged in connection with the case. Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher is charged with kidnapping for allegedly providing transportation to Yazeed and disposing of evidence, and David Johnson Jr. is charged with hindering prosecution.
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.
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.”
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.
Blanchard’s disappearance made national attention. She was from the Birmingham area and a student at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika.