Police are working to identify human remains found in Macon County that are believed to be those of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard.
Investigators hope to identify the remains within the next few days, but they intend to keep searching the area in the 38000 block of County Road 2 in Shorter as long as necessary, Auburn police Chief Paul Register said during a Tuesday evening news briefing.
“We could be here days or more,” Register said. “We’re just going to do everything we can to make sure that we get every last piece of evidence to successfully aid the prosecution of this case.”
The human remains were located in a wooded area Monday morning in the 38000 block of County Road 2 in Shorter, Auburn police said.
Blanchard was last seen Oct. 23 at the Chevron convenience store on South College Street in Auburn. She was reported missing the next day.
Blanchard’s 2017 black Honda CR-V was recovered Oct. 25 at an apartment complex in Montgomery.
Blood evidence was found in the passenger side of her vehicle “... that was indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury,” an arrest affidavit says.
Remains were found several feet into the wood line after a brief search, police said. Investigators searched into Monday night and were joined by more law enforcement agencies Tuesday.
Register would not comment further on the case or details of the search.
Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, and Antwon, also known as Antwain, “Squirmy” Shamar Fisher, 35, both of Montgomery, are charged with first-degree kidnapping in connection with Blanchard’s disappearance.
A third person, David Lee Johnson Jr., 63, was arrested Monday and charged with hindering prosecution.
Auburn police believe everyone involved in this case is now in custody.
Numerous helicopters flew above the search site Tuesday, as ATVs and drones combed the wooded area.
Law enforcement officers, first responders, forensic anthropologists and others are combing through the area looking for every piece of evidence, Register said.
“Obviously, when you have that many people you want to go step by step, inch by inch looking for anything that could be potentially evidence in this case,” Register said.
Investigators hope that their search efforts not only bring justice to those responsible but can help Blanchard’s family.
“It’s all about this family and everybody coming together to do what they can to bring closure to them, closure to the community …,” Register said.
Fisher was granted bond by Judge Russell Bush Monday afternoon after his attorney, Andrew Stanley, filed a motion requesting for Fisher’s bond to be set at “$50,000 pursuant to the standard bond scheduled for Lee County,” the motion reads.
The motion was filed without objection from the state despite the state requesting Fisher to be held without bond hours earlier during Fisher’s initial hearing.
The state argued during the hearing that Fisher’s criminal history was enough to hold him without bond.
Fisher was charged with capital murder during robbery in August 2004. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a felony murder in November 2006. He was sentenced to a 20 years in prison; however, 17 years were suspended, leaving him to serve three years. He also was sentenced to serve three years on probation, according to court records.
Fisher also previously was charged with several other crimes including public intoxication and numerous traffic violations, court records show.
Despite having bond set at $50,000, Fisher was still in the Lee County Jail Tuesday afternoon, according to jail records.
Yazeed is being held in the Lee County Jail without bond.
Lied to investigators
Investigators said Johnson lied about Ibraheem Yazeed’s actions after the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard earlier this month, according to a court affidavit filed Tuesday.
Investigators approached Johnson on Nov. 7 after they received a tip that Yazeed was at a residence in Montgomery earlier that afternoon, according to the affidavit.
Johnson, the father of David Lee Johnson III, told police that he saw Yazeed earlier Nov. 7, but he left the residence “with an unknown white female in an unknown vehicle,” the affidavit says.
Investigators later discovered that Johnson III drove Yazeed to Florida, the affidavit says.
Johnson admitted later that he knew Yazeed was wanted the “first time officers came to the residence and that he saw him leave with his son, David Lee Johnson III,” on Nov. 7, the affidavit reads.
Johnson was booked into the Montgomery County Jail and has since been released on bond.