Virginia police have arrested a man in connection with the disappearance of a 28-year-old store worker, who has not been seen since she went to take out the trash after the store closed last week, reports said. authorities.
Tyrone N. Samuel, 50, of Heathsville, has been arrested and charged with the kidnapping of Ahreal Smith, whose whereabouts remain unknown, Northumberland County Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp announced Sunday.
Several local businesses and organizations pooled a $9,400 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Smith was last seen around 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Claraville Little Sue Store in Heathsville where she works. She was spotted on surveillance footage leaving the store to start her car around 9:05 p.m. before heading inside, police said at a news conference.
At 9:18 p.m., she was seen getting in and out of another car in the parking lot. Police questioned the driver of the car and determined that he was not a suspect.
After getting out of the car, she went back inside, set the alarm, locked and picked up a trash bag and started walking towards a dumpster at the side of the store where she could no longer be. view of security cameras.
She has not been seen since. The next morning, police said the day shift clerk found Smith’s car still running in the parking lot. She was last seen wearing a black Nike hoodie, blue jeans and brown Ugg boots. She has several tattoos.
Beauchamp told reporters that Virginia State Police deployed a K-9 unit to track his scent in the dumpsters. The dogs smelled a trail that led from the store to a nearby road for about 100 yards before losing it.
Officials believe she may have gotten into another vehicle where the dog lost track of her scent. A silver Crown Vick was initially considered suspect, but Saturday was no longer considered a vehicle of interest.
“She’s my sister. She’s all I have. If anyone knows anything, let them go,” Lydia Smith, Ahreal’s sister, said at the press conference.
“If it was your family, what would you want someone to do?” She pleaded.
Following Samuel’s arrest, the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office received several threatening calls against those involved in the investigation.
“Our office is receiving a significant number of calls regarding threats against persons and property related to the Ahreal Smith investigation,” Beauchamp wrote Sunday evening after the arrest was announced. “Whatever the intentions, violence or vigilantism will not be tolerated. We ask the public to please understand that each of these calls for service diverts necessary resources from the investigation. Our office will publish verified and accurate information whenever possible.