A man suspected of abducting UFC heavyweight Walt Harris’s stepdaughter has been arrested in northwest Florida near Pensacola. Harris’s stepdaughter, 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, is still missing.
Ibraheem Yazeed was arrested and booked into the Escambia County Jail early Friday, according to an Associated Press report. He is being held as a fugitive charged in Alabama on a count of first-degree kidnapping. Blanchard was last seen on Oct. 23 at a gas station in Auburn, Ala.
According to a WBRC News 12 report, the affidavit charging Yazeed stated that there was blood found in Blanchard’s car indicative of a life-threatening injury. The blood was confirmed to be that of Blanchard.
Video evidence from the convenience store of the gas station where Blanchard was last seen, shows her and Yazeed in the store at the same time. A witness interviewed during the investigation claimed that he saw Yazeed force Blanchard into a vehicle against her will.
Yazeed was named as a person of interest on Thursday afternoon by Auburn police, picked up slightly before midnight, and then booked into Escambia County jail in Florida at 2:32 a.m.
The arrest was made by U.S. Marshals with the assistance of Escambia County deputies. The two agencies issued the following joint statement:
Escambia County deputies assisted U.S Marshal’s in the arrest. They released the following statement:
“Ibraheem Yazeed was arrested by the Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force on Pine Forest Road in Pensacola shortly before midnight Thursday, Nov. 7. Yazeed was wanted out of Lee County, Alabama, on a charge of kidnapping, first degree. Upon encountering Yazeed, the Marshals issued multiple verbal commands to which Yazeed did not comply. The Task Force members then had to physically remove him from his hiding spot. After his arrest, the Marshals turned Yazeed over to Escambia County. The extradition process will be handled between Lee County and Escambia County.”
Yazeed, 29, was already accused of a violent crime in Alabama. He was released on bond from an Alabama jail in February after prosecutors said he beat a man unconscious and “near death” in a vicious robbery, court records show. He faces attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree robbery in that case.
Harris had been scheduled to face Alistair Overeem in the UFC on ESPN 7 headliner on Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C. But after his stepdaughter went missing, Harris withdrew from the bout to focus on his family and his missing stepdaughter.
A few days removed from his UFC 244 victory over Andrei Arlovski, Jairzinho Rozenstruik agreed to step in and fight Overeem on the UFC on ESPN 7 fight card.