Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said the teen was found in the Cape Fear River near the North Carolina Highway 217 bridge just before 4 a.m. Sunday.
"They had abducted her from her house where she was babysitting her 3-year-old sister. From there we understand now she was taken to the river where she was sexually assaulted. After the sexual assault had taken place, she was shot three times," Rollins said.
Officials said the victim suffered gunshot wounds to the face, abdomen, and hand. She was taken to Betsy Johnson Memorial Hospital in Dunn and then airlifted to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill.
Rollins said his detectives have made two arrests in the case.
Jose Trinidad Soto Sanchez, 21, and Jose Juan Alverez, 28, both of Spring Lake, are charged with first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, and attempted murder.
Bond for both men was set at $1 million.
Rollins said the victim knew one of the suspects through her family.
The sheriff also said Alverez is in the country illegally from Mexico. Deputies are working to determine the alien status of Sanchez.