Authorities discovered a body in Heathsville, VA that matches the description of Ahrea’L Smith, a 28-year-old woman who went missing from her job at the Little Sue convenience store in Claraville, the Northumberland County Sheriff revealed on Facebook.
Smith was working alone at the store on the night of January 12, Northumberland Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp explained in a public statement. The next day, around 4:45 a.m., the employee for the morning shift arrived and found Smith’s car running in the store parking lot, but Smith was nowhere to be found.
Police reviewed footage from the store’s security cameras, which showed Smith turning on the alarm and locking up the store before grabbing a bag of trash and heading behind the store where the dumpster is located. She went out of the camera’s view and was never seen again, Beauchamp explained in his release.
Both officials and members of the community swiftly launched search efforts for Smith to no avail.
A Virginia State Police K9 unit was brought in to help track Smith and were able to track from the dumpsters for about 100 yards before losing the trail, Beauchamp also explained.
That Sunday, Beauchamp took to Facebook to announce that Tyrone Samuel, 50, of Heathsville had been arrested and charged with abduction in connection with the case. But Smith’s whereabouts were still unknown.
Both official and community efforts to find Smith continued.
By Tuesday, with nearly a week having passed since the disappearance, Beauchamp again took to Facebook to announce that the public should expect to see an increased police presence because federal, state, and local authorities would be conducting searches that day. He asked that the public suspend their searches to prevent interference with the authorities' efforts.
Later that evening, he revealed that a body matching Smith’s description was found. The sheriff is waiting for confirmation from an autopsy. More charges will be sought in connection with the discovery, he announced in another Facebook post.
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