A 6-year-old girl who was abducted from her home Wednesday night was found alive and chained to a tree in New Hanover County, North Carolina.
Officials said that the girl was found Thursday morning, about 2 miles from where she was taken. Officials said she is doing well.
Douglas Edwards, 46, of Wilmington is in custody. Edwards, who was picked up in New Hanover County Thursday morning, has been charged with first-degree kidnapping.
While authorities would not release any more public information on Edwards outside of a courtroom, he is listed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry. According to public records, Edwards was convicted in 1996 of first-degree sexual offense and indecent liberties with a minor. The victim was 6-years-old at the time.
Sheriff McMahon said that Edwards was under surveillance all night long and officials took him into custody Thursday morning. He did not give an exact location. McMahon says the community stepped forward to help with leads.
“I have a granddaughter at that age,” McMahon said, getting emotional at the news conference. “It’s personal when this is in our community and this stuff doesn’t normally happen, so this is very personal and it should be to everybody.”
A friend of the family said the girl was taken to the hospital for treatment.
A spokesperson for New Hanover Regional Medical Center sent along the following statement from the victim’s family.
We would like to first and foremost thank God, the police department, the sheriff’s office and all the communities that went out to search for her in the rain and on their own time. Thank you to our neighbors and friends and St. Mary’s Church who were praying for her and any others who were praying for her.
The family has asked for privacy.
Earlier Thursday, before the girl was found, authorities searched for the missing girl along River Road. A witness involved in the rescue said the girl was found chained to a tree in a wooded area.
The man said he was flagged down on River Road while driving to work. Authorities asked if he had any bolt cutters, but he didn’t have any. The witness gave authorities a battery-operated saw and they went into the woods to cut the girl free.
The man said he walked back and saw the girl lying on her back. He said she did not say a word and seemed very calm.