Update: Douglas Nelson Edwards has been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He received several consecutive sentences totaling 80-110 years; he will serve a minimum of 97 years.
WILMINGTON — Douglas Nelson Edwards, 47, has been found guilty by a jury of multiple charges stemming from the kidnapping and sexual assault of a then 6-year-old girl last September.
On Wednesday morning, Sept. 20, jurors heard closing arguments from both the prosecution for the state, and the defense, before beginning deliberations in the afternoon.
The jury returned with several guilty verdicts. Edwards stared at the jury while listening, appearing pale and unmoving.
Edwards has been convicted on a range of offenses, including first degree kidnapping, attempted first degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon intent to inflict serious harm, statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult and indecent liberties with a child.
The case dates back to Sept. 14, 2016. The victim was playing in the front yard of her Monkey Junction home when her mother stepped indoors to check on another child. Edwards grabbed the victim, putting her on his moped, and driving down River Road.
After two miles, Edwards found a secluded area, taking his victim less than 450 feet from the road, just far enough that she couldn’t be seen or heard. There, he chained her to a tree by the neck and sexually assaulted her.
Following these events, Edwards left the girl in the woods alone. There she remained for more than 17 hours, overnight and in the rain. She was eventually located through a countywide effort from area law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, and residents.
Through eyewitness accounts and testimonials that claimed a man matching Edwards description had been seen in the area over the weeks leading up to the incident the convicted sex offender was taken into custody.
After initially denying any responsibility in the incident, Edwards eventually admitted to taking the victim, though he denied sexually assaulting her or intending to harm her.