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Auburn Police have released images of a person of interest they would like to speak to in connection with the disappearance of a missing Alabama college student.
The images show a black male in his early to mid-20s in the same convenience store where Aniah Blanchard was seen just shortly before she disappeared on October 23.
Investigators have not gone as far as to call the man a suspect, but would like to speak with him, according to a statement from police.
The man is seen wearing dark-colored pants, dark-colored shoes, and a camouflage hooded sweatshirt with the word “Vans” written in white across the back as he walks through the store, police said. He is described as being between 5’8” to 5’10” inches tall and about 200 pounds.
He was seen leaving the Chevron gas station in a late-2000s model gray or silver Lincoln Town Car around the same time Blanchard left the store, ABC News reports.
Blanchard, who is the stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris, was captured on video in the store around 11:30 p.m. the night she disappeared.
She later sent a Snapchat message to her roommate telling her that she was with a guy that she had just met but her mother, Angela Haley-Harris, told the news outlet she isn’t sure whether the message was written by her daughter because it included “terminology” that didn’t match her usual communications.
"We need her back; we have to have her back," Haley-Harris said. “We can’t live without her, we can’t.”
Just a few days after Blanchard disappeared, her black SUV was found in the parking lot of an apartment complex nearly 50 miles from where she had last been seen. The car was not far from an Atlanta highway, local station WSFA reports.
Police said evidence found in the vehicle suggests “she was harmed” and is considered a “victim of foul play.”
As the search for the missing college student continues, Blanchard’s grieving parents are getting help from Beth Holloway, whose daughter Natalee Holloway disappeared in 2005 while on a high school trip to Aruba.
Haley-Harris told ABC News the two mothers are able to share a connection few could imagine.
“I just feel like I needed her, I needed somebody who knows what I'm going through, what we're going through. ... I needed help, because this is such a rare situation,” she said.
Blanchard’s family continues to plead for the 19-year-old’s safe return.
"It’s heart-wrenching because Aniah is such a people person," her father, Elijah Blanchard, told The Montgomery Advertiser. "For someone to try to take advantage of that, someone who was probably just trying to be nice and try to go home, it's heart-wrenching."
He described his daughter as a kind person who was always looking out for others and loved the color baby blue.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact authorities.
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