Virginia authorities discover body matches description of kidnapped store clerk

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Authorities announced on Tuesday evening that search parties had found a body in Northumberland County that may belong to Ahrea’l Smith, a store clerk from Virginia who disappeared last week. last.

According to the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office, a body matching Smith’s description was found on property in Heathsville after an extensive search operation throughout the day. An autopsy will be used to verify the identity of the woman.

Law enforcement had previously arrested and charged Tyrone Samuel, 50, of Heathsville, in connection with Smith’s abduction on Saturday January 15. He is currently being held at the Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center in Saluda.

Now the sheriff’s office says other charges will be sought.

It has been confirmed by the sheriff’s office that Samuel and Smith knew each other before the 28-year-old disappeared. However, they were not a couple.

The 28-year-old Heathsville woman locked down the Little Sue store she works in in Claraville around 9pm on Wednesday January 12. Smith got out and started her car before taking out the trash and locking the door to the store.

Security camera video of Smith that night is the last time she was seen alive. Also, his car was still driving outside the store the next morning.

Between starting her car and completing fencing duties, Smith reportedly got into another car with someone, but she got out soon after. Authorities say the driver is not considered a suspect.

According to Northumberland County Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp, Smith’s disappearance has scared the community.

The sheriff’s office arrested Samuel on Saturday and charged him with kidnapping in connection with Smith’s disappearance, but that stage of the investigation did not bring Smith home immediately.

On Tuesday, Jan. 18, just hours before the body was discovered, Beauchamp said they didn’t know if Smith was still alive.