OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The family of the stepdaughter of a UFC fighter found dead last year was emotional as a police detective testified about how the Alabama college student was found.
Auburn Police Detective Josh Mixon testified in a Lee County courtroom Wednesday that a witness said he was with Ibraheem Yazeed when Yazeed appeared to drag a body, wrapped in a comforter, into the woods near Shorter, Alabama, news outlets reported.
“Tell me that’s not a body,” Mixon testified the witness as saying. “Yazeed replies, ‘It won’t come back on you or your family,’” Mixon said.
Yazeed is charged with capital murder in the death Aniah Blanchard, 19.
Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris, was found dead in a wooded area in Macon County last November.
“I can’t imagine what her family is going through,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told WRBL-TV. “Murder cases are ugly. You have to talk about these things. You have to talk about these things in somewhat of a dispassionate way.”
Police previously said Yazeed was seen forcing Blanchard into her car at a gas station last October.
Mixon testified that Blanchard came into contact with Yazeed at a gas station and they left together, according to news outlets. Blanchard and Yazeed then stopped at a second gas station where he went inside and while she remained in the driver’s seat. He returned to the passenger’s seat and they both left, Mixon said.
Yazeed’s attorney, William Whatley Jr., said Blanchard willingly allowed Yazeed into her car, news outlets reported. Whatley said there’s no evidence a crime was committed in Lee County since her car was found in Montgomery and her body in Macon County.
Text messages from Blanchard’s phone to a friend that night said she was with a person named “Eric” and that she had “just met him,” testified Mixon.
Hughes, the district attorney, said Yazeed had ill intent because he gave a fake name, and that Blanchard “was lured under false pretenses,” so, by extension, she was kidnapped while in Lee County.