NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The man charged with the abduction of a Northumberland store clerk has now been charged with first-degree murder after her body was found six days after she went missing.
Ahrea’l Smith’s sister, Lydia Smith, says she was 28, only just beginning her life.
“She was loving. Tell it like it is, you know, young spirit like a free spirit,” Lydia said.
Now, she is heartbroken but wants to raise awareness so this never happens to anyone else.
“People die in a car accident or they die because they’re sick. Even the last two years, people suddenly died because they had COVID. Nobody is just like snatched and murdered,” Lydia said, still in shock that her sister is gone.
Tyrone Samuel, also charged in Ahrea’l’s abduction, is now charged with first-degree murder. Lydia is still numb, but hopes justice will be served.
“Nothing will bring my sister back. I’m never going to get the answer. Why would you do something like that? You know what I’m saying? I’m still going to always ask how could somebody do something like that,” she said.
Ahrea’l’s body was found on the property Samuel lived at in Heathsville, according to Northumberland County Sheriff Johnny Beauchamp.
Beauchamp confirmed cell phone data and evidence inside where Samuel lives were part of what led up to his charges.
According to Lydia, she plans to be there for every moment of the trial, saying, “It’s going to be a long lived feeling of you know, until this trial is over at least, because that’s when the grieving process will really get to begin because we’re going to be reliving every part of it for awhile,” she said.
The night Ahrea’l was last seen, she was closing up the Little Sue Convenience Store and dumping the trash. After that, the store’s surveillance cameras lost sight of her.
Virginia State Police K-9s tracked her scent 50 yards down Walnut Point Road next to the store, where authorities say she may have gotten into a car.
Beauchamp confirmed Ahrea’l and Samuel knew each other, but were not in a relationship.
Lydia wants to make sure what happened to her sister never happens to anyone else.
“I want to bring awareness to making sure that females in general are safe any and everywhere that they are, regardless of what type of job they have,” she told WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, in an interview on Thursday, Jan. 27, the day after authorities announced Samuel was charged by a grand jury with first-degree murder.
Samuel is set to be arraigned in court on Tuesday, Feb. 1. He was denied bond during his court appearance last week.
A petition to create a mandate called “Ahrey’s Law” has garnered more than 8,000 signatures online.
A friend of Ahrea’l’s family that created it hopes it will help hold businesses accountable to make sure no one closes up a store alone like Ahrea’l did the night she vanished.