I encourage anyone with information about the whereabouts of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was last seen Oct. 23, to please call *HP or 9-1-1. We continue to pray for Aniah & her family as law enforcement officials work to bring her home. @ALEAprotects @CityofAuburnAL pic.twitter.com/YT8683L9B9— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) October 30, 2019
The search is ongoing for Aniah Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris who has been missing since Oct. 23.
On Wednesday, the office of Alabama governor Kay Ivey issued a proclamation offering a $5,000 award for any information leading to the conviction and arrest of any parties responsible for Blanchard’s disappearance. The proclamation reads as follows:
WHEREAS authenticated information has reached this office regarding the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard in Lee County, Alabama;
WHEREAS the victim has not been located; and
WHEREAS her disappearance remains unsolved and the circumstances surrounding this event indicate that every effort should be made apprehend and convict the perpetrator or perpetrators;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kay Ivey, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me as governor of the state of Alabama under Ala. Code 15-9-1 and – 3 do hereby offer a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s), provided that no arrest has been made in connection with her disappearance as of the date of this proclamation, and provided further that eligibility for this reward shall be limited to private citizens who are not members or employees of any government law enforcement agency or the relatives thereof.”
The 19-year-old Blanchard disappeared from her Auburn, Ala., home last week, and last spoke with a friend on Oct. 23. She was reported missing the following day. According to a report from AL.com, Blanchard’s black 2017 Honda CRV was recovered by police from an apartment complex on the 6100 block of Boardwalk Boulevard on Friday. The vehicle reportedly had damage that was not present that last time it was seen in Auburn.
Video footage captured Blanchard, a student at Southern Union College, making a purchase at a convenience store late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning before her car was seen traveling south on South College Street.
As of Oct. 31, according to the Associated Press, police are now considering Blanchard a victim of foul play. The evidence that has since been discovered "indicates the young woman was harmed."
If anyone has any information on Aniah Blanchard, please call *HP or 911 immediately. Friends and fans please pass this video around. Thank you pic.twitter.com/4xDfcPMhGL— Dana White (@danawhite) October 31, 2019
UFC President Dana White put out a statement late Wednesday, announcing that he has added an additional $25,000 to the reward for any information leading to the return of Blanchard, as well as the prosecution of those involved.
"This is a criminal investigation, obviously we’re approaching it as such,'' Lee Country District Attorney Brandon Hughes said. “We do not believe that Aniah would or did go missing on her own volition.”
According to Auburn police captain Lorenza Dorsey, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, the Department of Homeland Security, the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Alabama Fusion Center and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences are all assisting in the investigation.
We are following this case closely, and I am remaining engaged with law enforcement on the state and local levels,’’ Ivey said. “I am issuing this reward to help encourage those with information to come forward. We continue to pray for Aniah and her family as law enforcement officials work to bring her home.”
On Sunday, Harris posted a video with his family on Instagram asking for help in the efforts to find Blanchard. Donations toward that cause can be made through PayPal to [email protected]
Harris is scheduled to face Alistair Overeem in the UFC on ESPN 7 main event in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7.