AUBURN, Ala. - U.S. Marshals arrested a man late Thursday night in Escambia County, Florida, wanted on a kidnapping charge in connection to the disappearance of a college student in Alabama two weeks ago.
Auburn police said friends last heard from Aniah Haley Blanchard, 19, on Oct. 23. Authorities said they subsequently found her car and "determined that she was harmed and is considered to be a victim of foul play."
On Thursday, police identified Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, as a suspect in the case. Authorities said he had been awaiting trial on unrelated charges of kidnapping and attempted murder.
Here are the latest updates:
Update 3:25 p.m. EST Nov. 8: Authorities found blood "indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury" inside missing Alabama college student Aniah Blanchard's car, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by the Pensacola News Journal and the Montgomery Advertiser.
Forensic testing proved the blood was Blanchard's, according to the Advertiser.
Authorities said surveillance video from the convenience store in Auburn where Blanchard was last seen showed both she and Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, were in the store at the same time. A witness told authorities Yazeed was seen "forcing Blanchard into a vehicle against her will and then leaving with her in the vehicle," the Advertiser reported.
Friends told police they last heard from Blanchard on Oct. 23. She remained missing Friday.
Update 11 a.m. EST Nov. 8: Officials in Auburn have confirmed that Yazeed was arrested Thursday night in Florida.
He was being held Friday morning in Escambia County Jail pending extradition to Lee County, Alabama.
Blanchard's stepmother, Yashiba Blanchard, told AL.com she was relieved to hear of Thursday night's arrest.
"I am prayerful that the Lord touches this young man's heart so he will be honest and truthful and tell the authorities where our daughter is located," she said. "These have been some long days and extremely sleepless nights."
Yazeed's arrest came as he awaited trial in a separate kidnapping and attempted murder case which left a 77-year-old man severely beaten, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. A judge revoked his bond in that case Thursday morning, the newspaper reported.
Update 5:40 a.m. EST Nov. 8: According to WEAR, Ibraheem Yazeed was captured around 11 p.m. while hiding in a brushy area near Interstate 10 and Pine Forest. He was taken to a local hospital after complaining of chest pains.
Yazeed has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, The Associated Press reported.
Yazeed, 30, has since been booked into the Escambia County Jail, where he will await an extradition hearing, and additional arrests are expected, authorities told WEAR.
Update 3:55 p.m. EST Nov. 7: Police said a person of interest sought in connection to Blanchard's disappearance was identified Thursday as Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, of Montgomery, Alabama.
Blanchard was last seen at a convenience store in Auburn on Oct. 23. Authorities released surveillance images Wednesday of a man who was seen in the store around the same time who was subsequently identified as Yazeed, police said.
He is wanted on a warrant for first-degree kidnapping connected to Blanchard, officials said.
"Further investigation and analysis of evidence has determined that Yazeed was at the same location Blanchard was last seen and is involved in taking Aniah against her will," police said in a statement.
Authorities continue to search for Blanchard.
Original report: According to WRBL-TV, Southern Union College student Aniah Blanchard, 19, of Homewood, was reported missing Oct. 24, the day after she was last seen shopping at an Auburn convenience store.
On Wednesday, Auburn police shared surveillance images of a man they said was in the same store around the same time.
UPDATE ON ANIAH BLANCHARD CASE: The Auburn Police Division is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a person...Posted by City of Auburn, AL - City Government on Wednesday, November 6, 2019
"As part of the ongoing joint investigation with the Auburn Police Division and the Montgomery Police Department into Aniah’s disappearance, investigators are seeking to identify the individual in the video and speak with him," the city said in a news release.
Authorities said the man, who is black and appears to be in his early to mid-20s, weighs about 200 pounds and stands 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He was wearing a camouflage Vans hoodie with dark shoes and pants, police said. Investigators believe the man drove away in a late 2000s Lincoln Town Car that is silver or gray.
The update came several days after police announced that they had discovered Blanchard's black 2007 Honda CR-V, which had been damaged, at a Montgomery apartment complex on Oct. 25. Since then, multiple rewards, totaling $105,000, have been offered in the case, AL.com reported.
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
UPDATE: Auburn Police located the vehicle of missing Aniah Blanchard on Friday, Oct. 25, at an apartment complex in Montgomery. While the vehicle has been recovered, Blanchard has not been located. https://t.co/2FzT2LQehD pic.twitter.com/Bm6wHU5DHk— City of Auburn, AL (@CityofAuburnAL) October 26, 2019
Auburn police described Blanchard, who has brown eyes and hair, as a light-skinned black woman who stands 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. She was wearing a black dress with black tights and tan duck boots before she disappeared, police said.
If you have information related to Blanchard's disappearance, call Auburn police at 334-501-3140 or the city's nonemergency line at 334-501-3100. You also can leave an anonymous tip by calling 334-246-1391.
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