Posted: Mar 8, 2014 10:44 AM
Updated: Mar 8, 2014 10:45 AM
BALTIMORE (AP) A Maryland girl who disappeared after her mother was found dead last week has been located following a nationwide search, authorities say.
The girl, 11-year-old Caitlyn Virts, was located along with her father, Timothy Virts, in a motel in Florence, South Carolina, police said late Friday.
She and her father had been missing since the body of the girl's mother, Bobby Jo Cortez, was found at her home Thursday. Police have since charged Timothy Virts with first-degree murder in the slaying of Cortez, 36.
The girl was found unharmed, according to a statement by the Baltimore County Police Department. Virts is in police custody and will be returned to Maryland "pending an extradition process," the statement said. Police hope to return the girl home as soon as possible.
"Detectives will be traveling to South Carolina as soon as possible to continue the investigation," said Corp. John Wachter in a statement.
Virts and his daughter were located at the Colonial Inn, according to local police in Florence. They first rented a room on Thursday night, said owner Carol Gause.
"They looked fine. She just walked right up with her father. I didn't notice anything," Gause said by phone from the hotel Saturday.
Gause was checking her Facebook page from the front desk around 7 p.m. Friday when she saw the Amber Alert posted by a friend and immediately recognized Virts and his daughter. She called police and officers quickly arrived. She said Virts was arrested without problems and his daughter appeared to be OK.
"I was startled, but I wasn't worried or frightened. You don't expect to ever be involved in something like this," Gause said. "But I called police and they took over."