The mother of Aniah Blanchard, the missing 19-year-old stepdaughter of a UFC fighter whose remains police believe to have found, issued a dire warning to other families and children: ‘there is evil out there.’
A tearful Angela Harris addressed a crowd of supporters at a vigil in Homewood, Alabama, on Tuesday night, urging parents to speak to their children about being vigilant and always aware of their surroundings when going out.
‘I always told Aniah her whole life … “Don’t ever go anywhere alone. Don’t go anywhere by yourself, not even to get gas” … and Aniah knew that,’ she said. ‘There’s evil out there.’
Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris, was last seen alive at a gas station convenience store on October 23 in Auburn.
On Monday, investigators acting on a tip found remains in a wooded area in Macon County that Auburn Police Chief Paul Register said are ‘very likely’ those of the missing woman.
He said positive identification is expected to be made within a few days.
‘We believe strongly that the remains that we have are very likely Aniah’s, but again we want to be positive and be able to bring closure for that family,’ Register said, adding the overriding concern was to ‘bring those to justice’ who were responsible in the disappearance.
So far, three men have been arrested and charged in connection to Blanchard’s disappearance.
At Tuesday’s vigil, Aniah’s mother spoke of her special bond with her daughter, who she said was born on her own birthday, according to the WSFA12 coverage.
‘I have other kids and I love them with all my heart, but [Aniah and I] were one person,’ she said through tears.
Harris listed all the things that her daughter will never get to do, and which she will never get to experience with her.
‘She’s never gonna get to have my grandbabies that I wanted her to have, or get married, or be a teacher and be a softball coach,’ the devastated mother said.
As she stood surrounded by her daughter’s friends, Harris issued a warning: ‘Nothing you do can prepare you for some evil that is out there, y’all.’
The mother also revealed that she feels ‘a lot of guilt’ for not preparing Aniah for the dangers lurking in the world, reported WVTM13.
‘Aniah was only going to the store to buy a bag of potato chips, and if you know Aniah you know how much she loved to eat. And that’s all she was doing and she ran into some evil,’ Harris said.
‘You have to listen to me when i’m telling you…you have got to pay attention. Do not be lax,’ she said. ‘when you’re in your car, you pay attention to your surroundings, because that is what it’s gonna take right now in this day we’re living in. You’re gonna have to do it, and it is coming from Aniah, OK? I have to say this for her…because she would not want this to happen to anybody else.’
Harris stressed that when parents ask their children where they are and what they’re doing, it is not because they do not trust them.
‘We don’t trust other people,’ she said.
After the disappearance, Blanchard’s black Honda CRV was found abandoned more than 50 miles away at an apartment complex in Montgomery. Police later said that the missing teen’s blood was found in the car and it appeared she had suffered a life-threatening injury.
Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, is charged with kidnapping in the teen´s disappearance. He is being held without bond.
Police also announced they arrested two other men they said say either assisted Yazeed or hindered law enforcement efforts.
Police arrested Antwain Shamar Fisher of Montgomery, on kidnapping charges. In an arrest warrant filed with the court Monday, police said Fisher helped Yazeed by disposing of evidence and driving him.
A third man, David Johnson, Jr., was arrested Monday in Montgomery and charged with hindering prosecution in the case.
Police wrote in a charging document that Johnson’s son had driven Yazeed to Florida, but Johnson initially told police Yazeed had left the residence with a woman.
SOURCE: The Associated Press; Daily Mail, Snejana Farberov