Local News

Judge keeps bond at $9M for man charged in Wilmington girl's abduction

Posted September 16, 2016 11:11 a.m. EDT
Updated September 16, 2016 6:51 p.m. EDT

— A New Hanover County judge on Friday kept a Wilmington sex offender's bond at $9 million on charges that he abducted and sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl who was the subject of a statewide Amber Alert.

Douglas Edwards, 46, is charged first-degree kidnapping and two counts of indecent liberties with a child in the incident, although New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said Friday that additional charges will likely be filed against Edwards.

According to authorities, Edwards, of 302 Patalanda Road, abducted the girl late Wednesday from her Wilmington home. The girl was found chained to a tree Thursday morning about 2 miles away, according to NBC affiliate WECT.

Jason Mehalko and Peter Marchese were on their way to work Thursday morning when they came across a deputy who needed their help.

"(The deputy) yelling out - did we have an bolt cutters," Mehalko said.

They did not have bolt cutters, but they did have a saw. they eventually helped free the little girl.

"The way it looked and the way she was chained up, she was...it looked like she had been out there for awhile," Mehalko said. "Her back was like, toward a tree. And her feet outward, so she was tied from the chest up to the stree."

But Marchese said he will never forget the look on the little girl's face.

"When she looked up at me, I mean, there was like, terror in her eyes," he said.

Authorities rushed the girl to the hospital, where she was in good condition Thursday.

Edwards, who was convicted of first-degree sex offense with a 6-year-old in 1994, was released from prison in 2012. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 6, and on Friday he received a court-appointed attorney.

A motive behind the kidnapping, or a connection between Edwards and the girl or her family, was unclear.

Editor's note: In a previous version of this story, WRAL News 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.