Alive, chained to tree: Kidnapped 6-year-old girl rescued by searchers

Rescued. Kidnapped Stefanny found alive. (WWAY-TV)
Rescued. Kidnapped Stefanny found alive. (WWAY-TV)

Kidnapped 1st grader rescued from twice convicted sex offender…

New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon just may have said it all after little Stefanny Lenneth Lopez-Castro was found chained to a tree, but alive. “We beat the odds today, it’s safe to say,” he told local media.

Reported by the staff of WECT-TV of Wilmington, NC, the six-year old was kidnapped from her driveway at approximately 4:30 pm on September 14, by an adult male riding a moped.

An area-wide Amber Alert was issued by New Hanover County shortly thereafter.

But with the vast majority of kidnappings ending in tragedy, the following good news was reported;

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.

Douglas Edwards, in custody.
Douglas Edwards, in custody.

WECT also noted that “Douglas Edwards, 46, of Wilmington is in custody. Edwards, who was picked up in New Hanover County Thursday morning, has been charged with first-degree kidnapping.”

Sheriff McMahon also stated that Edwards “was under surveillance all night long and officials took him into custody this morning.” The sheriff made a point of mentioning that the community stepped forward to help with leads.

A friend of the Lopez-Castro family said Stefanny was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

A spokesperson for New Hanover Regional Medical Center sent along the following statement from Castro’s family;

We would like to first and foremost thank God, the police department, the sheriff’s office and all the communities that went out to search for her in the rain and on their own time. Thank you to our neighbors and friends and St. Mary’s Church who were praying for her and any others who were praying for her.

Fox Carolina has cited that “A Douglas Edwards of the same age is listed in the North Carolina sex offender registry for a 1996 conviction of indecent liberties with a minor and first-degree sex offense involving a 6-year-old. The incidents reportedly happened in October 1994.”


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