Governor Ivey offers reward for information about missing college student

Aniah Haley Blanchard(Auburn Police Division)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state of Alabama offered a $5,000 reward for information about the missing stepdaughter of Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight Walt Harris on Wednesday as authorities said she likely didn’t go missing on her own.

The governor’s office announced the reward for information about Aniah Haley Blanchard, 19, of suburban Birmingham.

A statement said the money was being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the teen’s disappearance. Police initially said there wasn’t any indication of foul play but they now say it’s possible.

“This is a criminal investigation, obviously we’re approaching it as such,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said at a news conference. “We do not believe that Aniah would or did go missing on her own volition.”

The Southern Union State Community College student was last seen a week ago in Auburn, and police later found her damaged car at an apartment complex in Montgomery about 55 miles (90 kilometers) away. The vehicle wasn’t damaged before she went missing.

Auburn police on Monday released video showing Blanchard in a store in Auburn the day she was last seen.

Harris and other relatives have issued pleas for information about her whereabouts. Capt. Lorenza Dorsey, an Auburn police spokesman, said investigators weren’t eliminating any possibilities in the search for Blanchard.

“We’re hopeful, but we’re extremely concerned because of the amount of time that’s now passed,” Dorsey said.

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