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Police in Northumberland County, Va, have reportedly located the body of 28-year-old Ahrea’l Smith, who went missing more than a week ago.
Smith was last seen on the night of January 12, as she was captured on surveillance cameras closing up the Claraville Little Sue Food Store where she worked. NBC 12 reported that her car was found running by a co-worker the following morning.
“After an extensive search operation throughout the day, search crews located a body, matching the description of Ahrea’l Smith, on a property in Heathsville,” Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp said Tuesday. “Her body will be sent to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond for an autopsy.”
On January 15, authorities arrested 50-year-old Tyrone Samuel in connection to her disappearance. He has reportedly been charged with abducting Smith.
Security footage shows Smith getting in and out of a vehicle just before locking up on Wednesday, but the driver of that car is no longer a person of interest. She is also seen taking the trash to the dumpster behind the store but never reappears on camera.
Ahrea’l’s sister Lydia Smith told NewsNation Prime that Ahrea’l had texted her about a suspicious-looking stranger outside the store.
“She said that someone at the door made her feel uncomfortable,” Lydia said. “She never really said a name, but she said that someone made her feel uncomfortable.”
Investigators used a K9 unit to track Ahrea’l’s scent from the dumpsters to the road behind the convenience store, Insider reported. Samuel allegedly hasn’t been forthcoming with any information related to her death.
Smith’s supporters have reportedly tried to intervene with the investigation by confronting various people involved in the case.
“Showing up at individuals’ homes can hinder our investigation more than it helps,” one police statement said. As reported by Black Enterprise, another statement noted that the sheriff’s office received “a substantial number of calls regarding threats to persons and property related to the Ahrea’l Smith investigation.”