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Suspect Arrested in Kidnapping of UFC Fighter Walt Harris' Stepdaughter

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A suspect was arrested Thursday night in Escambia County, Florida, in connection with the kidnapping of Aniah Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris.

Twenty-nine-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed was pursued by U.S. Marshals and Escambia County sheriff’s deputies near the I-10 Pine Forest Road exit and apprehended at around 10:45 p.m., according to

“When we arrived, the suspect fled the area, but he was located by Escambia sheriff’s officers and marshals in a wooded area near the exit,” Escambia Sheriff’s Major Andrew Hobbs told WAGA.

“The marshals were the ones who handcuffed him and took him into custody; you’d have to contact them about any injuries he received,” he added.

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This is not Yazeed’s first encounter with the law. He has a checkered past extending back to 2011 that includes a guilty plea for drug possession, as well as charges of ramming a police vehicle with his own car and robbery.

Prior to his most recent arrest, he was awaiting trial in relation to an incident that involved kidnapping, attempted murder and robbery in which a victim was left barely clinging to life in Montgomery.

Yazeed was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree kidnapping after authorities found video evidence that he was near Blanchard’s last known whereabouts on Oct. 23.

She was last seen at a gas station in Auburn, Alabama, and surveillance video showed him there, too, according to WAGA.

Authorities are hoping this step forward will them locate the 19-year-old Blanchard.

“I am relieved that we can finally obtain some answers and locate our daughter,” Yashiba Blanchard, the young woman’s stepmother, told “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.”

“These have been some long days and extremely sleepless nights,” she added. “I feel as if the Lord has heard our cries and the community’s cries for help with finding our daughter. We are continue to put our trust in God and pray that Chief Register and the APD with other law enforcement bring us Aniah and justice.”

According to, Auburn Police Chief Paul Register said that at this point, authorities’ main goal is to find Aniah Blanchard.

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“Obviously our focus is, and has been since the beginning, finding Aniah,” he said at a news conference. “It’s about giving [the family] some peace of mind.”

“This is a family that’s hurting,” Register said. “Regardless of the outcome, they want to know where their daughter is.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking