Police say missing Alabama college student was harmed

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Aniah Haley Blanchard

This undated photograph released by police in Auburn, Ala., shows Aniah Haley Blanchard, 19, who is missing. The state of Alabama offered a $5,000 reward for information in her disappearance on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. Authorities say they don’t believe the college student went missing on her own. (Auburn Police Division via AP)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Evidence shows a missing college student was harmed and is now considered a victim of foul play, police said Thursday as her mother and stepfather, who’s an Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight, pleaded for information.

Speaking in an interview with WBRC-TV, Angela Harris said “there has to be someone who knows” what happened to Aniah Haley Blanchard, 19, of suburban Birmingham.

“We have to have her back,” she said. A social media message sent by Blanchard to her roommate indicated she might have been with a male before she disappeared, Harris said.

Husband Walt Harris, who fights with the mixed martial arts fighting organization, said relatives don’t understand what might have happened to the college student.

“There are just a lot of things that don’t add up for us as parents,” he said. “We just really, really want to know.”

The Southern Union State Community College student was last seen Oct. 24. Police later found her damaged car in Montgomery, about 55 miles (90 kilometers).

A statement from Auburn police Thursday said evidence found inside the vehicle indicated the young woman had been harmed and was the victim of foul play.

The young woman’s parents spoke after the president of UFC, Dana White, tweeted a video saying he was offering a reward of $25,000. The money was in addition two rewards of $5,000 each offered by an anonymous donor and the state.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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