In the wake of the tragic news that his stepdaughter, Aniah Blanchard, had been found dead weeks after she first went missing, UFC fighter Walt Harris took to Instagram to share a heartfelt tribute to his “sweet baby girl.”
Blanchard, 19, went missing on Oct. 24. Weeks after her abandoned vehicle was found, along with blood that suggested she’d endured a “life-threatening injury,” human remains were discovered in Macon County, Alabama, on Nov. 25. Days later, authorities confirmed that those remains belonged to Blanchard.
Following the news, Harris, who’d previously taken to Instagram to ask for help finding his stepdaughter, mourned his family’s loss.
“My sweet baby girl ... I just wanna thank you for helping me change my life for the better ... For teaching me how to be a man and a better father,” Harris wrote, alongside a photo of himself and a younger Blanchard. “For being my biggest fan win, lose, or draw! For always knowing what to say to put a smile on my face and lift me up when I was down and wanted to give up.”
“You light up my world [in] so many ways. This pain is unbearable,” he continued. “I know you want me to be strong but it so hard baby it so hard. I’m gonna find away I promise you I will. Right now nothing makes sense and I’m so lost. I just want you back. I hope I made you proud ... I’m gonna keep going daddy just needs time.”
“I love you so much,” he concluded. “Look after us like you always did. We need you now more than ever. My lil mighty mighty tiger is a angel now. I love you baby girl forever and ever!”
Investigators have not yet determined how Blanchard died, according to PEOPLE.
Blanchard, who was reported missing after she failed to show up for work or contact her family, was last seen in surveillance footage taken at a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama, on the night of Oct. 23. Her vehicle was found days later abandoned at an apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama, but blood found in the car suggested that she’d sustained a “life-threatening injury.”
Three men have been arrested thus far in relation to Blanchard’s disappearance: Antwain “Squirmy” Fisher, 35, Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, and David Lee Johnson Jr., 63.
Yazeed, who was arrested first for kidnapping in the first degree, is alleged to have snatched Blanchard while out on bail for an unrelated kidnapping and attempted murder case, according to police. Fisher was arrested later, also on a kidnapping charge, while Johnson, the third to be arrested, was taken into custody on Nov. 25 and charged with hindering prosecution, according to the Montgomery Adviser.
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