The Virginia store clerk disappears moments after her shift ends; man accused of kidnapping

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A Virginia woman who disappeared last week from the convenience store where she works remains missing even as authorities announced the arrest of a man accused of abducting her.

More than $9,000 is being offered for information leading to Ahrea’l Smith, 28, who has not been seen since Wednesday night, according to the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

On Saturday, Tyrone N. Samuel, 50, was arrested and charged with Smith’s kidnapping, the agency said in a statement.

Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp said Smith was closing the Little Sue store in Claraville when she went missing. Surveillance video shows she started her car at 9:05 p.m. and then briefly got into another vehicle.

She then went back inside the store, set the alarm, locked it, and took a bag of garbage to dumpsters behind the store, which were not in view of the camera.

Ahrea’l Smith was last seen at 9 p.m. on January 12, 2022.Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office

His car was discovered, still running, by the clerk who arrived the next morning, Beauchamp said. The person whose vehicle she got into while locking up was questioned and is not a person of interest, he said.

The FBI is assisting in the search for Smith, and the cash rewards offered by community businesses have continued to grow. Little Sue offered $1,000.

Smith was wearing a black hoodie, jeans and brown Uggs when she disappeared, authorities said. She has multiple tattoos and wore a black wig with a red hair clip.

“If anyone knows anything big, small, whatever, let us know, call the police,” Smith’s sister Lydia asked at a news conference last week.

“If it was your family, what would you want someone to do?” she asked. “Anyone know something; please help us. Just let my sister come back safe and sound.”

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