Family of abducted 6-year-old Wilmington girl thanks law enforcement, the community

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The family of 6-year-old Stefanny Lenneth Lopez-Castro released a statement to the public Thursday morning, thanking the Wilmington community and law enforcement for help in bringing their child home safely.

Stefanny was the subject of an Amber Alert issued Wednesday afternoon after she was abducted outside her home Carolina Beach Road, in the Monkey Junction section of the city.

Stefanny was located by local, state and federal authorities Thursday morning and taken to the hospital. A suspect, 46-year-old Douglas Edwards, was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping in connection with the case.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference about the abduction case Thursday morning to announce Stefanny’s safe return to her family. There, sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer read a statement from Stefanny’s family, provided by New Hanover Regional Medical Center Spokeswoman Clair Parker.

The statement from Stefanny’s family read:

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

The family asked for the community to respect their privacy as they “rejoice in her return,” Brewer said.

Related stories:

Police ID 46-year-old Douglas Edwards as kidnapper of Wilmington 6-year-old

Missing 6-year-old located and being transferred to hospital

Girl, 6, goes missing from driveway off Carolina Beach Road

Editor’s note: Images of Stefanny have been removed from our stories.