‘You want him to feel our pain’: Aniah Blanchard’s parents describe seeing suspect in court

Updated: Nov. 11, 2019 at 11:02 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Angela Harris knew seeing the man charged with kidnapping her missing daughter in court would be difficult. But the mother of Aniah Blanchard was more concerned about her husband, Walt Harris, than she was for herself.

“Him being her daddy and just knowing that he could get to him and physically hurt him,” Angela said, “I had to tell him to take big, deep breaths, and he was. He just kept taking big, deep breaths, but I thought at any second he was going to jump for him.”

Walt, a heavyweight UFC fighter listed at 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds, said seeing Ibraheem Yazeed in court was “a lot," saying the only reason he didn’t actively respond is because it would would hurt Aniah’s situation.

“You could see the evil on his guy,” Walt said. "It’s hard to put into words what you’re feeling in that moment other than rage. You just want to make him feel our pain and understand how hard this has been and what you’re doing to a family. It’s not just us but multiple families.”

Yazeed was taken into custody late Thursday night in Escambia County, Fla. He is charged with first-degree kidnapping in the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard.

Over the weekend Yazeed was transported to Lee County, where he made his first court appearance in Alabama on Sunday.

Angela and Walt say Yazeed has not provided any information to law enforcement since being taken into custody.

“We have him - we have his physical body, but he’s not talking,” Walt said.

Angela says she’s praying Yazeed has a change of heart and decides to provide any information he knows.

“God can change peoples’ hearts, and that’s what I’m praying for. That he’ll have a change of heart and, you know, he’ll understand what he’s doing is wrong and what he’s been doing in his life is wrong. And he has a child, so I hope he’ll start feeling some remorse and change his mind.”

Aniah was last seen October 23 in Auburn at a convenience store on South College Street and was reported missing the following day. Her CR-V was found at a Montgomery apartment complex on October 26.

Surveillance video and photos placed Yazeed in the convenience store at the same time as Aniah. A witness told authorities he saw Yazeed force Blanchard into a car, and an affidavit states blood evidence, “indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury,” was found in the passenger compartment of Blanchard’s 2017 Honda CR-V.

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