Aniah Blanchard case brings back memories of the disappearance of Vitor Belfort’s sister

It appears that the search for Aniah Blanchard, the missing stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris, is coming to a devastating end.

On Monday, authorities announced they had discovered human remains several feet from a wood line in Macon County, Alabama. Authorities stated they have “good reason” to believe the remains are that of Blanchard.

Two suspects, Ibraheem Yazeed and Antwain Shamar Fisher, are already in custody. An additional third suspect, David Johnson Jr, has been arrested in connection.

Blanchard was last seen on October 23rd when she was seen inside of a convenience store nearby her apartment. She was reported missing the following day. Then, on October 25th authorities located her vehicle approximately 50 miles from the convenience store at an apartment complex. What authorities detailed as evidence of a “life-threatening injury” was located inside of the vehicle. They were able to confirm the blood found inside of the vehicle to be that of Aniah’s.

Unfortunately, the Blanchard case is not the first of its kind to strike the UFC family.

Priscila Belfort, the sister of UFC legend Vitor Belfort, was kidnapped in Brazil in 2004. She was never located. Several arrests were made in the case, including that of Elaine Paiva. Paiva, arrested in 2007, confessed to both the kidnapping and murder of Priscila. The remains were said to have been burned and buried. However, to this day, nobody has found them.

Additional suspects Leonardo Luiz Batista and Leandro Ferreira Fernandes were arrested years later in connection to the Belfort disappearance. The kidnapping, according to statements made by Paiva, was to pay off a four-thousand-dollar debt to local drug dealers.

The Belfort family remains hopeful that Priscila will be found alive. The tragedy is said to have led to Vitor’s Christian faith.

More Questions than Answers

The UFC Family has poured out their support for the family of Aniah Blanchard. Walt Harris was previously scheduled to headline an upcoming Fight Night event in Washington DC against Alistair Overeem. Harris backed out of the fight due to Blanchard’s disappearance. Jairzinho Rozenstruik will replace him.

The case raises several questions. Why was Ibraheem Yazeed, a subject arrested in January on kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder charges, granted bond one day after his arrest? Why was a witness who saw Yazeed force Blanchard into a vehicle hesitant to come forward with what they saw? And ultimately, how do we keep our children safe from the evil of the world?

In the end, both the Blanchard and Belfort cases provide examples of the dangers present in society. Dangers that even their powerful, super-human appearing family members cannot protect them from.