“After an extensive search operation throughout the day, search crews located a body, matching the description of Ahreal Smith, on property in Heathsville,” Northumberland County Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp said Tuesday evening.
He said the suspect in her disappearance, 50-year-old Tyrone Samuel, had met her before and that additional charges against him were likely.
“Please keep Ahreal’s family in your prayers as we move forward,” Beauchamp said.
Earlier in the day, the sheriff’s office announced an increased police presence throughout the county as law enforcement agencies from the state, federal and local levels stepped up their search for Smith.
They announced they found her suspected remains just before 6 p.m.
The body would be sent to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond for an autopsy.
Deputies arrested Samuel on Saturday and were looking into whether there were other suspects involved.
Samuel, a Heathsville resident, has a lengthy criminal record, with guilty pleas for selling cocaine, child abuse, assault and attempts to smuggle contraband to prisoners.
He had his probation revoked in 2008 and had past charges of sodomy and abduction, which were dropped.
Smith was last seen on surveillance video taken at the Claraville Little Sue store in Heathsville at the end of her shift last Wednesday.
She started her car, locked the store and set the alarm — then went out back with a trash bag toward the dumpster.
That was the last time anyone saw her alive. A co-worker found her car still idling in the parking lot Thursday morning.
Police K-9s tracked her trail about 50 yards from the dumpsters, headed away from the cameras, to the edge of another street.