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A Virginia man has been charged with abduction after a woman mysteriously vanished while taking out the trash at a convenience store

A Virginia man has been charged with abduction after a woman mysteriously vanished while taking out the trash at a convenience store… Local and federal authorities fanned out across Northumberland County, Virginia, on Tuesday, conducting “multiple searches” for a 28-year-old woman who vanished while closing up a convenience store last week, Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp said in a statement.

Ahrea’l Smith was reported missing on January 13, after an employee at the convenience store found her car still running outside the store the morning after she closed up. The Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the FBI has agreed to help investigate Smith’s disappearance.

Authorities arrested one suspect, 50-year-old Tyrone Samuel, on January 15. He was charged with abducting Smith, though authorities said they were still investigating Smith’s whereabouts.

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Beauchamp said in a press conference last week that surveillance footage showed Smith starting her car at 9:05 p.m. on January 12 as she prepared to lock up the store for the evening.

The footage showed Smith getting into a different vehicle at 9:18, exiting that vehicle, then turning on the store’s security alarm system, locking the door, and grabbing a bag of trash and walking towards the dumpsters, Beauchamp said.

“She was not seen on camera again,” he said.

He added that police have already interviewed the driver of the car Smith briefly entered, and determined that the driver was not a suspect.

Smith’s sister, Lydia Smith, told NewsNation Prime that Ahrea’l Smith had texted her about a stranger outside the store who caught her attention.

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“She said that someone at the door made her feel uncomfortable,” Lydia Smith said. “She never really said a name, but she said that someone made her feel uncomfortable.”

Lydia Smith added that authorities told her they had been unable to extract any information from Samuel, the man they arrested.

The sheriff’s office issued multiple statements within the last week urging Smith’s supporters not to interfere with authorities’ investigation, suggesting that some supporters had tried to confront various people involved in the investigation.

“Showing up at individuals’ homes can hinder our investigation more than it helps,” one 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.”

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The Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about the nature of the threats. Insider was unable to reach Samuel for comment on this story. It’s unclear whether he has retained a lawyer.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said they “respectfully ask that all civilian search parties suspend their activities for the day” while local, state, and federal agencies conduct their searches for Smith.

 

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