A well-known search-and-recovery organization is joining the search for 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard.
Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recover Team announced Monday that it’s working with investigators and will be assisting law enforcement in the search efforts for Blanchard, Tim Miller, Texas EquuSearch founder and director, said.
“Well I met with detectives today (Monday) and I think we’ve joined a partnership,” he said. “They’re filing every lead, so we’re going to go ahead and be the manpower on actually doing the searches.”
Blanchard, a Southern Union State Community College Student, was last seen on Oct. 23 and was reported missing on Oct. 24.
Her black 2017 Honda CR-V was found damaged the next day at an apartment complex in the 6100 block of Boardwalk Boulevard in Montgomery.
Evidence indicates Blanchard was harmed and is considered to be a victim of foul play, investigators said.
“I’m not going to sugar coat anything but it doesn’t look good at this time,” Miller said about Blanchard’s disappearance.
Miller knows the search area for Blanchard will be extensive due to the distance between Auburn and Montgomery but hopes to resolve the heartache Blanchard’s family is having.
“You know, we’ve got 50-plus miles,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of technology we’re bringing in and so and we’ve got a lot of area to search. We know this is process of elimination, we got a lot of things to eliminate, and hopefully we can help bring this to some type of a close.
“I’m optimistic that we’re going to get her located.”
Blanchard’s family is certainly hoping to bring her disappearance to a close.
“Right now we are looking for answers,” Haley Tembarge, a friend to Blanchard’s family, said on behalf of the family.
Eleven days laterA prayer service was held Monday night at Auburn United Methodist Church in Blanchard’s honor 11 days after she was reported missing.
Blanchard’s family, friends and other community members joined together in prayer and song for Blanchard with one message in mind, hope.
“That is the main focus right now, to keep everybody hopeful that we’re going to find her alive and bring her home,” Tembarge said. “That is what the family is holding on to.”
Among those in attendance as Auburn resident Jackie Coefield who felt a calling to show support to the family of a tragedy that occurred in her home town.
“Well, I don’t know Aniah, but this is my home,” she said. “For something like this to happen in our world is devastating.”
Auburn University student Margaret Marks has also felt the devastation of Blanchard’s disappearance, which is why she decided to attend the prayer service.
“It’s just so scary to think something like this could happen in Auburn and it’s just heartbreaking,” she said. “And we just wanted to come show support.”
What to do nextAuburn police are continuing to search for Blanchard and urge the public to come forward with information.
“We are continuing to follow up on tips and other information in order to locate Aniah as well as the person(s) responsible for her disappearance,” Auburn police Capt. Lorenza Dorsey told the Opelika-Auburn News on Monday. “We urge the public to continue providing information.”
Blanchard’s family is also asking people to continuing to share her story.
“In the meantime you can help us by sharing her picture on all platforms,” Tembarge said on behalf of Blanchard’s family. “We are thankful for your continued prayers and hopefully expectant for Aniah’s safe return.”
Texas EquuSearch will be posting more information on how to volunteer to help in the search effort if it’s needed, Miller said.
“I think after we have our mapping and planning, seeing the areas that we have, I believe that we are going to be reaching out for volunteers,” he said. “Then I think we’ll know where our command center’s going to be.”
Texas EquuSearch will share the latest information on how to volunteer on its Facebook page,www.facebook.com/txeqorg/, and website, www.texasequusearch.org.