Body Found in Woods Is Likely Aniah Blanchard, Officials Say

The authorities in Alabama found human remains that most likely belong to the missing college student Aniah Blanchard, officials said Monday.

Brandon Hughes, the Lee County district attorney, said in an email that the authorities had “good reason” to believe the remains belong to Ms. Blanchard, 19.

The remains were found in a wooded area near Highway 80 in Shorter, Ala., which is about 25 miles east of Montgomery. Ms. Blanchard was last seen alive in Auburn, Ala., and her black 2017 Honda CR-V was found in Montgomery days after her disappearance, the Auburn Police Department said. The town of Shorter lies between the cities.

Ms. Blanchard was reported missing on Oct. 24, according to the police. Initially, the police did not think she was a victim of foul play, but evidence found in her vehicle “determined that she was harmed,” the authorities said.

The authorities said Monday that they were working to identify the remains and determine how the victim ended up in the area.

Ms. Blanchard’s father, Elijah, said Monday that his daughter was a victim of circumstance.

“She was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “It was some bad individuals.”

Three men have been arrested in connection with the case, according to officials.

Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, of Montgomery, was taken into custody on Nov. 8 in Pensacola, Fla., the police said. At the time, Mr. Yazeed was out on bond on kidnapping and attempted murder charges from a different jurisdiction, according to the police, who said before his arrest that Mr. Yazeed should be considered dangerous and potentially armed.

The police also arrested Antwain Fisher, said Mr. Hughes, the district attorney. Mr. Fisher, who was taken into custody on Friday, disposed of evidence and provided transportation to Mr. Yazeed, according to an affidavit obtained by WVTM 13, a Birmingham television station.

Both men have been charged with first-degree kidnapping. One witness identified Mr. Yazeed as the person seen forcing Ms. Blanchard “into a vehicle against her will and then leaving with her in the vehicle,” according to the television station. On Monday, the authorities arrested David Johnson Jr. and charged him with hindering prosecution, Mr. Hughes said. It was unclear Monday who was representing each of the men.

Ms. Blanchard, who attended Southern Union State Community College, was last spotted at a convenience store in Auburn on the night of Oct. 23, according to the police. She was reported missing the next day.

Ms. Blanchard’s stepfather, Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight Walt Harris, posted public pleas on his Instagram account asking for help finding “my baby.”

A video shared on Mr. Harris’s account on Oct. 31 shows the U.F.C. president, Dana White, offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people involved in Ms. Blanchard’s disappearance.

At the time, Gov. Kay Ivey had already offered a $5,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of anyone involved, the police said, adding that an anonymous source was also offering a $5,000 reward.

Mr. Harris captioned the video featuring Mr. White with “Thank you so much, boss!” In another post that features a childhood photo of Ms. Blanchard, Mr. Harris said that he “won’t rest until I find you, baby girl! I love you!”

On Monday, Mr. Blanchard spoke lovingly of his daughter’s smile and the joy she brought to everybody who knew her.

He said she liked to eat steak, did not like to fail or make mistakes, and had the same favorite color that her father did in his youth — baby blue.

“She was just an outstanding person,” he said.