NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The man charged with kidnapping a Northumberland store clerk has now been charged with first-degree murder after his body was found six days after he went missing.
Ahrea’l Smith’s sister, Lydia Smith, says she was 28 and just beginning her life.
“She was in love. Tell it like it is, you know, young spirit like a free spirit,” Lydia said.
Now she is heartbroken but wants to raise awareness so it never happens to anyone else.
“People die in a car accident or they die because they are sick. Even the last two years, people have died suddenly because they had COVID. No one is like ripped off and murdered,” Lydia said, still in shock that her sister was gone.
Tyrone Samuel, also charged with the kidnapping of Ahrea’l, is now charged with first degree murder. Lydia is still numb, but hopes for justice.
“Nothing will bring my sister back. I will never have the answer. Why would you do something like that? Do you know what I’m saying? I will always ask how anyone could do something like this,” she said.
Ahrea’l’s body was found on the property where Samuel lived in Heathsville, according to Northumberland County Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp.
Beauchamp confirmed that cellphone data and evidence inside where Samuel lives were part of what led to his charges.
According to Lydia, she plans to be there every moment of the trial, saying, “It’s going to be a long-lasting feeling, you know, until the end of this trial at least, because that’s when that the grieving process will really begin because we’re going to relive every part of it for a while,” she said.
The night Ahrea’l was last seen closing the Little Sue Convenience Store and throwing out the trash. After that, the store’s surveillance cameras lost sight of her.
Virginia State Police K-9s tracked her scent 50 yards down Walnut Point Road next to the store, where authorities say she may have gotten into a car.
Beauchamp confirmed that Ahrea’l and Samuel knew each other, but were not in a relationship.
Lydia wants to make sure that what happened to her sister never happens to anyone else.
“I want to raise awareness about safety for women in general wherever they are, whatever type of job they’re in,” she told WFXR’s sister station WRIC in an interview. Thursday, January 27. the day after authorities announced that Samuel had been indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder.
Samuel is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday, February 1. He was denied bail when he appeared in court last week.
A petition to create a mandate called “Ahrey’s Law” has garnered more than 8,000 signatures online.
A family friend of Ahrea’l who set it up hopes it will help hold businesses accountable to make sure no one closes a store alone like Ahrea’l did the night she went missing.