Human remains discovered in rural Macon County on Monday are believed to be those of missing college student Aniah Blanchard, numerous law enforcement officials said.
Early on Monday, Auburn Police officials received information on the possible whereabouts of Blanchard’s remains, Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson said during a news conference. Brunson said Auburn PD officials reached out to his office and his deputies searched an area behind a rural church off County Road 2 in Shorter, where they located a body.
Both Brunson and Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told news outlets on Monday that they believed the remains to be Aniah Blanchard. A source familiar with the investigation said Auburn Police received the tip on Blanchard’s location from one of three suspects arrested in her disappearance.
“I think someone had specific information,” Brunson said. He said locating the body in the area where it was found — described as “wooded” — would have been “nearly impossible” without a tip.
Brunson said dental records were being sent for comparison to confirm the identity, and he expected that task to be accomplished within a day or so. Macon County deputies, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency officers, Auburn Police and other law enforcement agency officials were still working the scene late Monday night and indicated they could stay most of the night.
Blanchard’s disappearance and the subsequent search and investigation into her disappearance drew national media attention.
Auburn Police also arrested a third suspect in Blanchard’s kidnapping on Monday. David Johnson Jr., of Montgomery, was booked into a Montgomery County jail on charges of hindering prosecution.
Also arrested are Ibraheem Yazeed, who police believe to be the primary actor in Blanchard’s disappearance, and Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher, who was arrested Friday for aiding Yazeed and destroying evidence.
A witness in the case said he saw Yazeed force Blanchard into a car at a gas station in Auburn. Blanchard went missing on Oct. 23 and was last seen on surveillance video from a gas station on South College Street in Auburn around 11:30 that night. Yazeed was captured on video at the same store.
Blanchard’s SUV was located at a Montgomery apartment complex two days later. Law enforcement officials said a significant amount of blood was found inside the vehicle.