Man arrested over kidnapping of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris' daughter

Ibraheem Yazeed is linked to the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard

Alex Woodward
New York
Friday 08 November 2019 17:51
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Police release footage of Walt Harris' missing stepdaughter, Aniah Blanchard

Police have arrested a man in Florida believed to have kidnapped the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris.

Ibraheem Yazeed will be charged with first-degree kidnapping following the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who vanished after last being seen at a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama two weeks ago. Here whereabouts are still unknown.

Mr Yazeed was out on bond for two unrelated kidnapping charges and an attempted murder charge at the time of his arrest. He left the scene of his latest arrest in an ambulance, and his booking photo shows him with a swollen left eye.

He remains in Florida's Escambia County Jail and is being held without bond, pending extradition to Alabama where he'll be charged with first-degree kidnapping.

Escambia County Sheriff Major Andrew Hobbs said US Marshals Task Force called deputies to assist with the arrest late on Thursday on Interstate 10. Mr Yazeed tried to flee on foot but was found in a nearby wooded area.

Ms Blanchard, who was studying at Alabama's Southern Union State Community College, was reported missing on 24 October. Police said she spoke with a friend before midnight the night before. It was the last time anyone had heard from her.

The following day, her black Honda CRV was discovered in an apartment complex in Montgomery, more than 50 miles from the school's campus. Police said evidence from the badly damaged car suggested she had been harmed "and a victim of foul play".

Ibraheem Yazeed will be charged with first-degree kidnapping in the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris. (Escambia County Sheriff's Office)

On Wednesday, the Auburn Police Department released surveillance footage that showed Mr Yazeed at a gas station at the same time as Ms Blanchard. He was wearing dark trousers and a hooded camouflage sweatshirt and left the area in a silver Lincoln Town Car.

Mr Yazeem was named a person of interest on Thursday.

Mr Harris had been scheduled to face Alistair Overeem in the main event of UFC Washington on 7 December, but he decided to back out following the disappearance of Ms Blanchard.

A reward totalling $105,000, including contributions from UFC president Dana White and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, was pledged for information leading to an arrest.

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