Witness: Missing Wilmington girl was chained to tree

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A sex offender is accused of kidnapping the 6-year-old girl (WTVD)

A witness says that a 6-year-old Wilmington, North Carolina girl who was found following an 18-hour search was chained to a tree when deputies located her.

New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon says the child was found Thursday morning near Wilmington, in woods about 2 miles from her home.

The witness, Jason Mehalko, tells local news outlets he loaned deputies a saw which they then used to free the girl.

Authorities did not immediately confirm the account the child was chained but said more information would be released at a Friday court hearing.

Authorities have charged a registered sex offender with kidnapping and two counts of indecent liberties with a child.

Douglas Edwards

The sheriff said that 46-year-old Douglas Edwards has been charged. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.

Editor's note: Previous versions of this story included the name of the 6-year-old girl involved, who was the subject of an Amber Alert. Due to the sex crime charges against her alleged abductor, WTVD has removed her name and picture from our stories.

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