DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ) — A little girl has been missing for more than 12 hours after police say her father abducted her. Now investigators believe the two may have fled to another state.
Mike Hellgren spoke with the suspect’s family.
Billboards across the region blasted pictures of 11-year-old Caitlyn Marie Virts and her father Timothy. Police say he took her. They’ve been on an all-out search for both of them—a search that’s now expanded into West Virginia.
Caitlyn is about 5 feet tall, 80 pounds and possibly wearing glasses. She is believed to be with her 38-year-old father, Timothy Virts. He is about 6’3″ and 280 pounds.
Timothy Virts’ father spoke to WJZ and had a strong message for his son.
“If he did what they say he did, then he’s guilty. He knows the price. But my granddaughter doesn’t have to pay that price,” said Peter Virts. “If he loves his daughter as much as he says he loves his daughter, he’ll turn her over to me.”
It started around 9 a.m. when police say they found Caitlyn’s mother, Bobbie Jo Cortez, dead inside her home in Dundalk in the 3100-block of Ardee Way. Virts and his daughter were nowhere to be found. They immediately launched an Amber Alert.
“We have had a violent scene that has left a woman dead. We are not sure what his involvement in that may have been and we know he is not supposed to have this child,” said Elise Armacost, Baltimore County Police. “So we have good reason to be concerned about her safety.”
Caitlyn has a twin sister and a brother. They also lived in the home, and they are safe right now.
The motive for the abduction is unclear, but police say all of them lived in the home with Bobbie Jo’s husband, Daniel Cortez, who is now in jail on charges he sexually abused a minor.
Police say Timothy Virts drove off in Cortez’s black Dodge Durango, bearing Maryland license plates 5AJ4458.
Virts’ father just wants his son to keep Caitlyn safe.
“I’ll always love him no matter what, but what he’s doing is wrong and he cannot include my granddaughter,” Peter Virts said.
WJZ has learned that Timothy Virts has an extensive criminal record that dates back to 1999. He’s lost two separate child custody cases and was involved in a domestic violence case that earned him a restraining order in 2012.
“I just hope that she’s found and that she’s OK and certainly not injured or anything but more importantly I just hope that she’ll be OK emotionally after all of this. As a parent, that’s the first thing you think. How are they going to handle these situations,” said Stacey Evers, neighbor.
“They are very nice, sweet kids, very polite. Sad,” said Barbara Kenney, neighbor.
Police have not said how the mother, Bobbie Joe Cortez, died.
Anyone with information is asked to immediately call 911 or Baltimore County Police Department at 410-887-2020.
Do not take action which could endanger your safety or further endanger the abducted child.
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