Crime

Florida police help arrest man accused of kidnapping UFC fighter’s stepdaughter

Florida police have helped arrest a man who officials say is connected to the disappearance of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris’ teenage stepdaughter.

Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, was booked into the Escambia County Jail early Friday and will be extradited to Alabama, where he will be charged in the kidnapping of Aniah Haley Blanchard, 19, according to officials.

Surveillance video recorded Blanchard, who lives in Alabama, leaving a convenience store on Oct. 23. Cameras also recorded Yazeed inside the store at the same time, according to police.

Blanchard was never seen again.

Her black 2017 Honda CR-V was found damaged two days later at an apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama. Investigators later determined Blanchard “was harmed and is considered to be a victim of foul play.”

Blanchard car _fitted.jpeg
Aniah Haley Blanchard’s black 2017 Honda CR-V was found damaged at an apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama. Auburn Police Department

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Aniah Haley Blanchard’s black 2017 Honda CR-V was found damaged at an apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama. Auburn Police Department

Yazeed, who was out on bond reportedly for a February case involving charges relating to kidnapping and attempted murder, was identified by police earlier this month as a “person of interest” in Blanchard’s case.

The Montgomery, Alabama, resident was then arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Escambia County deputies late Thursday in Pensacola, Florida, hours after a warrant for his arrest was issued on a charge of kidnapping in the first degree.

His jail booking photo shows him with a swollen left eye.

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Ibraheem Yazeed, 29 Escambia County Sheriff's Office

Yazeed was taken into custody in a wooded area and left the scene in an ambulance, according to The Associated Press.

When asked about his swollen eye, a U.S. Marshals inspector told the Miami Herald that Yazeed did not comply with multiple commands and had to be physically removed from his hiding spot.

Yazeed is being held without bond at the Florida jail on a fugitive of justice charge.

As for Blanchard, she’s still missing.

Anyone with information on where Blanchard is should call the Auburn Police Division Detective Section at 334-501-3140, Central Alabama Crime Stoppers at 334-215-STOP, or the 24-hour non-emergency number at 334-501-3100.

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Real Time/Breaking News Reporter. There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and I cover it. Graduated with honors from Florida International University. Find me on Twitter @TweetMichelleM
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