AUBURN, Ala. — Forensic evidence found in the vehicle of an Alabama teen missing since last week indicates she was harmed, Auburn officials said on the town’s Facebook page.
Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old college student who is the stepdaughter of Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight Walt Harris, was last heard from October 23.
Her damaged black 2017 Honda CR-V was found two days later at an apartment complex in Montgomery, about an hour away from Auburn, where she was seen last.
The state Department of Forensic Sciences looked at evidence and “determined that she was harmed and is considered to be a victim of foul play,” officials said.
Auburn Police Chief Paul Register told CNN affiliate WFSA earlier this week Blanchard is very close to her family.
“She had been with her family earlier that day. Very close with people here in Auburn, roommates,” he said, adding for her to be out of contact with them was very unusual.
Blanchard communicated with a friend just before midnight on October 23 and hasn’t been heard from since, the Auburn Police Department said in a statement this week.
Blanchard, a black woman with a light complexion, attends Southern Union, a state community college with multiple campuses in East Alabama. She stands 5-foot-6-inches tall, weighs about 125 pounds and was last seen wearing a black dress, tan duck boots and black stockings.
Her SUV had damage to the front right fender and scrapes on a passenger-side door. Police said the vehicle had no damage when it was last seen and asked anyone with information on Blanchard’s disappearance or on the damage to the SUV to contact them.
Late Wednesday, UFC President Dana White said he would contribute additional money to the reward offered hours earlier by Gov. Kay Ivey.
“To help find Aniah, I’m contributing an additional $25,000 to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators involved in the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.
Ivey tweeted: “I encourage anyone with information about the whereabouts of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was last seen Oct. 23, to please call *HP or 9-1-1. We continue to pray for Aniah & her family as law enforcement officials work to bring her home.”
Blanchard’s stepfather is ranked No. 10 among Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweights. In posts on Instagram and Twitter, Harris has pleaded for the public’s help in finding Blanchard.