LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Auburn police are applauding the primary witness in the Aniah Blanchard kidnapping case for stepping forward even though he didn’t report it right away.
“He went back to his room and told his girlfriend, or wife, what he had saw, and she told him it’s none of his business and stay out of it," said Auburn police detective Josh Mixon.
It’s not crystal clear why the female companion told the man to stay out of it, but Mixon offered what may have been a clue. The couple had a recent crisis that may have clouded their thinking.
“He had recently lost a child in October due to a miscarriage," said Mixon from the witness stand.
Mixon also testified that the witness was “remorseful he hadn’t come forward sooner,” Mixon said.
For days no one really understood what happened to 19-year-old Blanchard, who has been missing since Oct. 23, or why. But the investigation picked up speed when that witness decided later to report what he saw: the actual kidnapping of Aniah Blanchard, allegedly by Ibraheem Yazeed, at a Chevron gas station in Auburn.
Those who used to work on the front lines in law enforcement say the reluctance to step forward is nothing new.
“One is fear. They don’t want to get involved because of the court process," said Auburn University at Montgomery Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Ralph Ioimo.
Sometimes crime scene witnesses have a criminal history themselves, which is something that could be exposed if they were to report a crime.
“That’s another reason a lot of people do not, depending on the neighborhood you’re in," Ioimo said.
In the case involving the disappearance of Blanchard, authorities say the witness did the right thing by stepping forward, a move investigators say puts them one step closer to the truth - what happened to her and where she is.
Bottom line, police say it’s never a bad time to do the right thing.
The name of the witness wasn’t revealed during Yazeed’s preliminary hearing.