Police in Alabama now suspect foul play in the disappearance of 19-year-old college student Aniah Haley Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight star Walt Harris. Blanchard was reported missing by her family on October 24.
Investigators said evidence from Blanchard’s vehicle determined that she was harmed, CBS affiliate WIAT reported.
The Southern Union State Community College student was last seen a week ago in Auburn, and police later found her damaged car at an apartment complex in Montgomery about 55 miles away. The vehicle wasn’t damaged before she went missing.
The governor’s office announced a $5,000 reward for information about Blanchard. A statement said the money was being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the teen’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, UFC President Dana White also offered a $25,000 reward. „Please share this message and keep Aniah, Walt and their family in your thoughts,“ White said in a video posted on Facebook.
Auburn police on Monday released video showing Blanchard in a store in Auburn the day she was last seen.
„This is a criminal investigation, obviously we’re approaching it as such,“ Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said at a news conference. „We do not believe that Aniah would or did go missing on her own volition.
Harris and other relatives have issued pleas for information about her whereabouts. „We just want our daughter home,“ said Angela Harris, Blanchard’s mother, WIAT reported.
Captain Lorenza Dorsey, an Auburn police spokesman, said investigators weren’t eliminating any possibilities in the search for Blanchard.
„We’re hopeful, but we’re extremely concerned because of the amount of time that’s now passed,“ Dorsey said.