Baltimore County police are crediting an expanded Amber Alert for helping to locate a missing Dundalk, Md. child, 11-year-old daughter Caitlyn Virts.
Caitlyn and her father, Timothy Virts, were discovered at a motel in Florence, S.C. late in the evening of March 7.
Timothy Virts was taken into police custody and Caitlyn appears to be unharmed. Timothy Virts' return is pending an extradition process, and Catilyn will be returned home as soon as possible. Baltimore County social services officials are in contact with their counterparts in South Carolina. ~ WBAL
On the morning of March 6, police responded to the home of Caitlyn's mother, Bobbie Jo Cortez, where Virts allegedly abducted his daughter and stabbed Cortez to death.
Caitlyn was staying at the home with her twin sister, another of Cortez’s children, and two adults.
The Amber Alert for Caitlyn, which soon was expanded to a nationwide alert, first went into effect around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
By March 7, the FBI had joined in the search for Caitlyn and her father.
The FBI issued a warrant Friday for Timothy Virts' arrest for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, which gives federal authorities anywhere in the United States the ability to arrest Virts.
According to Anna Trainor Goodwin, Caitlyn’s grandmother and Cortez’s mother, Caitlyn’s 11-year-old twin sister discovered her mother's lifeless body on Thursday morning in her Dundalk home.
"It's a shock, it's a shock," Goodwin said.
"She was going downstairs, went downstairs and she opened up the door to wake her up and that's when she seen the tape on her mouth and her tied up."
According to statements by Goodwin, Virts probably killed Cortez on Wednesday and escaped with Caitlyn then.
Although police are stating officially that they have no motive for Cortez’s murder and Caitlyn’s kidnapping, Goodwin said that Virts and Cortez were involved in a child custody battle and were scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
In their current custody agreement, Cortez had sole custody. Virts had visitation privileges.
"The way I'm hearing it, she told him Wednesday morning that Wednesday was the last time he was going to see his kids and I don't know what happened after that," Goodwin said.
A warrant for Timothy Virts was issued on March 7 for the first-degree murder for Caitlyn's mother, Bobbie Jo Cortez.
For more on Caitlyn and Timothy Virts, see the video accompanying this article.
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