Abducted 6-year-old North Carolina girl found chained to tree; sex offender arrested

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Stefanny Lenneth Lopez-Castro has been found alive, according to Lt. Jerry Brewer of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

Douglas Edwards, 46, of Wilmington is in custody.

According to officials, he is a registered sex offender. He has been charged with first-degree kidnapping.

Officials say Edwards was picked up in New Hanover County this morning.

(Taken from the North Carolina sex offender registry website)
Douglas Edwards (Taken from the North Carolina sex offender registry website)

A friend of the family said Lopez-Castro is being taken to the hospital for treatment. She is alive but it is unclear if she was harmed or injured at this time.

Earlier this morning, authorities were searching 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 Lopez-Castro lying on her back.

He said she did not say a word and seemed very calm.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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