09/16/2016 01:00 EDT | Updated 09/16/2016 01:16 EDT

North Carolina Girl Found Alive, Chained To Tree After 18-Hour Search

WILMINGTON, N.C. — A witness says a six-year-old North Carolina girl 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 about three kilometres from her home near Wilmington.

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

Authorities did not immediately confirm the child was chained, but an arrest warrant says she was unlawfully confined and restrained.

A registered sex offender, 46-year-old Douglas Edwards, has been charged with kidnapping and two counts of indecent liberties with a child.

He's being held on US$9 million bond and was to appear in court Friday. It was not immediately known if he has an attorney.

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