After a week of searching, authorities in Northumberland County, Va, have located the body of 28-year-old Ahrea’l Smith, NBC 12 reported.
“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. “Her body will be sent to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond for an autopsy.”
Smith was last seen around 9 p.m. Wednesday, January 12, at the Claraville Little Sue Food Store. Her car was found running on Thursday morning with no sign of her whereabouts.
Security footage showed Smith getting in and out of a vehicle just before locking up on Wednesday, Ahrea’l’s sister Lydia Smith said. Ahrea’l was then seen taking trash to the dumpster behind the store but was never seen again.
“She said that someone at the door made her feel uncomfortable,” Lydia Smith told NewsNation Prime. “She never really said a name, but she said that someone made her feel uncomfortable.”
Last week, deputies confirmed they investigated the driver of that vehicle and found the person no longer to be a person of interest. Investigators used a K9 unit to track Ahrea’l’s scent from the dumpsters onto the road behind the convenience store.
On Saturday, authorities arrested 50-year-old Tyrone N. Samuel of Heathsville in connection to Smith’s disappearance and charged him with abduction. Lydia Smith said authorities told the family Samuel wasn’t forthcoming with any information related to Ahrea’l’s death.
With her body being found, authorities have asked for personal civilian search parties to cease following reports that some supporters confronted various people involved in the investigation, Insider reported.
“Showing up at individuals’ homes can hinder our investigation more than it helps,” one police statement said.
Another statement noted that the sheriff’s office had received “a substantial number of calls regarding threats to persons and property related to the Ahrea’l Smith investigation.”