AUBURN, AL — As the search for 19-year-old college student Aniah Blanchard enters its second week, the reward for her return continues to grow. The total reward in the case now has reached $80,000, and may grow beyond that.
Blanchard has not been seen since Oct. 23, and police have determined she has been harmed and foul play is involved in her disappearance.
What We Know
Blanchard is a Homewood resident who attends Southern Union College in Auburn. She was last seen Oct. 23, and police have released security footage of her making purchases at a convenience store that evening, so she was alive that night.
Blanchard’s vehicle was found in Montgomery a week ago with signs of damage, indicating she was in some kind of collision between the time she left her home and the time her car was located Oct. 25.
Her father and stepmother, Birmingham attorney Yashiba Blanchard, as well as her mother, Angela Harris, and stepfather, UFC Heavyweight fighter Walt Harris, have said Blanchard’s disappearance is not consistent with her personality.
Gov. Kay Ivey approved the initial reward of $5,000 last week. Another $25,000 comes from UFC President Dana White, $25,000 from UFC athlete Jon Jones and $25,000 from an anonymous donor from Homewood.
The investigation into Blanchard’s disappearance is being treated as more than just a missing persons case. With the evidence showing Blanchard was harmed, finding her also likely would result in someone being charged.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes issued a statement Wednesday indicating as much. “This is a criminal investigation, obviously we’re approaching it as such,” Hughes said. “We do not believe that Aniah would, or did, go missing on her own volition.”
Anyone with information about Blanchard’s disappearance or how her car was damaged is asked to call police at 334-501-3140, the anonymous tip line at 334-246-1391 or the 24-hour non-emergency number at 334-501-3100.