Police said that Timothy Howard Virts, 38, the girl's father, abducted her from the home where he is accused of murdering her mother, Bobbie Jo Cortez, on Thursday.
"We think it's reasonable to believe that he may have left the state," Baltimore County Police Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said Friday afternoon at a press conference broadcast live by WBAL. "The fact that we have not located him leads us to believe that he may have left Maryland."
Police said that detectives have followed dozens of leads, and information that Timothy Virts had connections in West Virginia led them to issue an Amber Alert there Thursday night.
"We have no evidence that he has gone to West Virginia or is in West Viriginia," Armacost said. "We received information that he has connections there and we were doing our due diligence to follow up with those tips."
Detectives have been "literally working around the clock since this incident occurred, and we will not stop until we find these people," Armacost said.
"We have received and continue to receive significant assistance from our partners," Armacost added. She said that Maryland agencies, Maryland State Police, U.S. Marshals and the FBI are helping with the investigation.
"The FBI this afternoon will be
helping us broaden the scope of this search," Armacost said, which includes using tools at the national level.
- Police said the sex crimes that caused the the girl's stepfather—Daniel Williams Cortez, 38—to be put in jail for on Wednesday are not related to the death of his wife and the girl's disappearance. "We don’t believe Daniel Cortez is involved in this homicide and abduction," Armacost said.
- Police continue to look for a 1999 Dodge Durango belonging to Cortez, which Timothy Virts is believed to be traveling in with his daughter, Caitlyn Virts. "Anyone who sees Virts or the vehicle ... should call 911," Armacost said. "We strongly discourage anyone from approaching him. We believe he may be armed and we certainly believe he is dangerous."
Officials think the girl is with her father, Timothy Howard Virts, 38, who is driving a black 1999 Dodge Durango with Maryland license plate number 5AJ4458, according to police. The father is a white man who is 6'3" and 280 pounds, police said.
Anyone with information may contact 911 or the Baltimore County Police Department at 410-887-7320.