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Body matching Ahrea'L Smith's description found in Virginia

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 18:23:42-05

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. -- The Northumberland Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday that they found a body matching the description of missing Northumberland woman Ahrea'L Smith.

"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. Her body will be sent to the Medical Examiner's office in Richmond for an autopsy," Northumberland Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp said. "More charges will be sought in connection to finding her today."

Beauchamp asked the public to keep Ahrea'L's family in their prayers.

Smith, 28, was last seen around 9 p.m. Wednesday, January 12, at the Claraville Little Sue Store in Heathsville, Virginia where she works as a clerk.

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The Claraville Little Sue Store in Heathsville, Virginia where Ahrea'L Smith was last seen alive.

Tyrone N. Samuel, 50, was arrested three days later and charged with Smith's abduction, according to Northumberland Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp.

Sheriff Beauchamp said his office has received hundreds of tips directing searchers on places to look for the missing woman.

"Most of the places have come in by tips," he said. "Whether, you know, the suspect lived here before or he lived around this area. Locals will call and say, 'Hey, this is a good spot, you know. That something could be there. Are you aware of this location?' And so we're taking all that into consideration. Even with theories that we have, we've come up with -- all that's being searched."

One of the locations searched Tuesday was an area near Samuel's home, which is only a few miles from the convenience store.

Smith last seen outside Little Sue Wednesday night

Surveillance footage showed Smith walking out of the Little Sue Store at approximately 9:05 p.m. to start her car.

Around 9:18 p.m., she got into another car but then got back out.

The driver of this vehicle was questioned by detectives but was not considered a person of interest.

After she got out of the car, she prepared to lock up for the evening. Deputies said she was seen on surveillance going back into the store to set the alarm, then walked out and locked the door before picking up a bag of trash on the front stoop.

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Ahrea'L Smith was reported missing on January 12, 2021.

Smith was last seen on camera taking the bag of trash towards the dumpsters located on the east side of the store — where cameras could no longer see her. She was not seen on camera again.

Deputies said the store's day-shift clerk found Smith's car parked outside the store the next morning still running.

Virginia State Police used a K-9 unit to track her scent from the dumpsters at the store. The K-9 caught a trail that led from the store to Walnut Point Road for about 100 yards before it ended.

Who is Tyrone Samuel?

Smith's family said they don't recognize Tyrone Samuel.

Sheriff Beauchamp said Smith and Samuel were acquaintances, through his family, but would not elaborate.

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Tyrone Samuel

Samuel is due in court on Friday.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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