Local News

Missing 6-year-old Wilmington girl found alive, chained to tree

Posted September 15, 2016
Updated September 16, 2016

— A missing 6-year-old Wilmington girl who was the subject of a statewide Amber Alert was found safe and taken to a local hospital, officials with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

The sheriff's office said the girl was in good condition at a local hospital. She was found in the woods just a few miles from her home on Thursday morning. According to WECT News, the child was found chained to a tree.

Dozens of officers and volunteers searched for the girl before she was found at about 10 a.m.

"It was a horrible night for me," the girl's soccer coach Kimberly Crabbe said. "My stomach was in knots all night. I didn't sleep, so the minute it looked like the sun was trying to come up, I got on my feet."

According to authorities, Douglas Edwards, 46, was charged with first-degree kidnapping in connection with the incident.

Edwards, of Wilmington, was convicted of first-degree sex offense with a 6-year-old in 1994, and was released from prison in 2012.

During a news conference, Sheriff Ed McMahon had to fight back tears.

"I have a granddaughter that age," he said. "It's personal when this is our community and this kind of story doesn't normally happen, so this is just very personal. It should be for everybody."

A motive behind the kidnapping, or a connection between Edwards and the girl or her family, was not immediately available.

Anybody with information is asked to call the New Hanover Sheriff's Office at 910-798-4260.

[Editor's note: In a previous version of this story, WRAL identified the victim in this case because she was the subject of a statewide Amber Alert. Due to new information, WRAL has taken the victim's name out of the story because WRAL usually does not identify the victims of sexual crimes.]


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  • Susan Handel Sep 16, 2016
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    Your editors note tells too much. You need to delete that and just omit the child's name. Sometimes less is enough.

  • Gia Momoa Sep 15, 2016
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    Cut off his hands, tongue and his private.

  • Kristin Byrne Sep 15, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    I saw that, too. Pretty sad that with a story like this, something like that would be someone's first thought.

    I'm with you guys. I really hope he didn't steal anything from her.

    People like that should never see the light of day again. There's no place on this earth for pedophiles.

  • Aiden Audric Sep 15, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    I was thinking the same thing.

    I've seen awful comments on other news sites where people say "I guess they took ank-hur baby literally" (wral filters the correct spelling), while all I'm thinking is that I remember being that age and I can't image this not affecting her. I hope that bright face of hope isn't dimmed by what she went through.

  • Anne Havisham Sep 15, 2016
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    This little girl looks so spirited in this photograph; I hope the man who (allegedly) kidnapped her didn't steal any of that from her.