Missing Alabama teen’s father has hope for his daughter’s return

Crime

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Missing teen Aniah Blanchard’s father said Friday morning he has hope his daughter will be found alive after police confirmed evidence from her vehicle indicates she was harmed and is the victim of foul play.

“(The Auburn police) are considering foul play, they really have not given us much. They tell us they have a lot of investigators (working the case),” her father, Elijah Blanchard said.

“That was hard for us. I’m a man of faith and regardless of what the police say, I still have hope that my Aniah is out there waiting on her father to get her,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard disappeared after apparently meeting a man on Wednesday, Oct. 23. She was reported missing by her family on Thursday, Oct. 24.

Auburn police recovered Aniah’s damaged car last Friday, Oct. 25.

Blanchard shared his thoughts on how the discovery and later evidence possibly changed his view of the search.

“It was something hard. Regardless of what people are saying, once a piece of you, your daughter, is missing it’s so hard for you to grasp that concept. It’s really hard to think when they said they discovered their car (and she was still missing) … that did something to me,” Blanchard explained.

As the search continues, Auburn police shared surveillance video of Aniah’s last sighting.

Elijah Blanchard provided insight into his daughter’s behavior in the video.

“My daughter looked like she was troubled. Either she was troubled or extremely tired. To see her going into the store like that … she looked like she was trying to send a signal to someone that she was bothered,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard said he wants the public to know who Aniah is as a person.

“Aniah is the type of person who brings light to a dark room. She never met a stranger. We’re just so happy how everyone is trying to team together and trying to find her,” Blanchard said.

As for holding up, Blanchard stated he is trying to stay strong for his son.

“I still remain hopeful. I miss her. I love her. As a father, I’m just not going to let her go,” Blanchard stated.

The reward money for Aniah has reached over $80,000.

There are also blue ribbons displayed throughout the Birmingham area in honor of Aniah. Blanchard shared his thanks to the community for their support.

“I just want to thank everybody, the support we’re getting. Through all of it we still remain humble. People are just coming from all walks of life. Most parents understand that when your daughter or son…something is just not right, you can never be complete,” Blanchard said. “The community has stepped in, we get facebook posts, I’ve received many text messages, prayers from people…it’s really flattering to know that people are really aware of what’s going on today. We appreciate it. Everything is going into our efforts of finding my daughter and I’m so, so happy that people are involved in this case.”

 ELIJAH BLANCHARD

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding Aniah’s whereabouts, or other knowledge about the case is asked to call the Auburn Police Division Detective Section at 334-501-3140, the anonymous tip line at 334-246-1391 or the 24-hour non-emergency number at 334-501-3100.

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