The parents of Aniah Blanchard told Dr. Phil they believe her abduction was not random, but instead planned by someone she knows.
UFC heavyweight Walt Harris, Aniah’s stepfather, and her mother, Angela Harris, appeared on Dr. Phil on Nov. 14 to give their opinion on what they believe happened to the 19-year-old, who was allegedly kidnapped by Ibraheem Yazeed from a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama, on Oct. 23, Crime Online reported.
In a clip from the show, Mr. Harris said, “It seems like it was something that was set up and it was planned.”
Mrs. Harris added, “Personally I feel like, if it was a setup, it was somebody that knew Aniah and that knew her well.”
Mr. Harris said if it was someone the missing college student knew it gave the 30-year-old suspect “the opportunity to get that close to her.”
Aniah was last seen at the convenience store on Oct. 23 and reported missing on Oct. 24.
A man who said he witnessed Yazeed forcing Aniah into her vehicle against her will outside of the store was remorseful for not reporting it sooner. He claimed that when he told his wife what he had seen, she told him to “stay out of it.”
Investigators identified Yazeed on surveillance video from the store where he was buying alcohol and looked over his shoulder at Aniah as she passed on Oct. 23.
Two days later, on Oct. 25, her vehicle, a black 2017 Honda CRV, was located in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Montgomery, 50 miles from Auburn. Yazeed is reportedly from Montgomery.
On Oct. 31, examiners of the vehicle determined Aniah was “harmed and is considered to be a victim of foul play.”
Blood evidence was found inside Blanchard’s abandoned vehicle and, according to the affidavit in the case, “was indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury.”
Yazeed was captured in Pensacola, Florida, by U.S. Marshals on Nov. 7 after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
According to Crime Online, Aniah had spoken with a friend prior to her disappearance and told her roommate in Snapchat messages that she was meeting a man.
A gag order was implemented shortly after Yazeed’s arrest, so authorities have not released further information about the case.
“I have feelings that there may be somebody that she knows that has set her up,” Mrs. Harris said. “I have something that we can’t really discuss, but there’s … a lady that they’re working on to try and figure that part out.”
When Dr. Phil said that “there might have been someone from her world, not his world, that might have bridged those two worlds together,” Mr. and Mrs. Harris confirmed that to be so, and Mrs. Harris responded, “Exactly.”
During the preliminary court hearing on Wednesday (Nov. 20), Lee County District Judge Russell Bush ordered Yazeed to submit a DNA mouth swab sample, as requested by prosecutors. Bush also denied him bond and sent the case to a grand jury.
The next court hearing Bush scheduled is for Dec. 4 to consider arguments about the gag order, which several media companies have filed a motion to lift.
There is currently a $105,000 reward being offered for information about Blanchard’s disappearance.
“I love you baby girl. We’re looking for you,” Mr. Harris said tearfully when Dr. Phil asked if he had a message for Aniah. “We’re doing everything that we can. We’re gonna get you. I promise. I won’t stop until we do. We love you.”
Mrs. Harris also had an emotional message for her daughter: “You know mommy loves you. You’re my heart. And I want you to be the strong girl that you are. Just hold on. Be strong. Be tough. Be smart, cause we are working hard to get to you. It’s gonna be soon, I promise. Mommy loves you.”