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Posted at 7:20 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Brittany Smith, missing Va. girl, found

By Associated Press

Updated, 9:55 p.m. A 12-year-old girl who had been missing for a week was found unharmed Friday after she and the man accused in her abduction were recognized in a store in San Francisco, police said.

Brittany Mae Smith has since been in touch with her family in Virginia, while Jeffrey Scott Easley, 32, was in police custody in San Francisco, Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder said at a news conference.

Smith, left, and Easley. (VSP)

Lavinder said Brittany and Easley were in a retail store around 3 p.m. in San Francisco when someone in the store recognized the pair from reports on their disappearance and called police. Easley did not resist arrest.

Asked if Easley forced Brittany on the cross-country trip, Lavinder said he didn't know.
"We're just getting bits and pieces of the facts right now," he said.

The girl was aware that her mother had been found dead. She had no signs of physical injury.
Lavinder did not know if Easley had any connections to the San Francisco area or how the pair traveled the 2,320 miles to get there. Roanoke authorities planned to travel to California as soon as possible.

Updated, 7:20 p.m. A 12-year-old girl who had been missing for one week was found unharmed Friday, and the man she was with was taken into custody, a local official said.

Brittany May Smith and Jeffrey Scott Easley were found out of state, said Roanoke County spokeswoman Teresa Hamilton Hall, who could not provide additional details. County police planned a news conference at 8 p.m. Friday.

Easley, 32, was the live-in boyfriend of Brittany's mother, who was found dead in her home on Monday. Police have not released the cause of Tina Smith's death, but have ruled it a homicide.
Police had sought Easley for abduction, but they have declined to say whether they consider him a suspect in the mother's death.

Brittany and Easley hadn't been seen since Dec. 3, when they were captured on store surveillance video at a Walmart in Salem.

Brittany's disappearance had generated more than 700 tips to Roanoke County police, who earlier Friday said they were deeply concerned after finding no trace of the girl after days of searching.

After learning that her granddaughter was safe, Liz Dyer told The Roanoke Times: "We're so glad. We're bouncing off the walls."

Original post: A Roanoke County official says a 12-year-old girl missing for one week has been found unharmed.

Teresa Hamilton Hall said 12-year-old Brittany Mae Smith was found Friday, and 32-year-old Jeffrey Scott Easley is in custody. He had been the boyfriend of Brittany's mother, who was found dead on Monday.

A multistate search was launched Thursday.

Hall could not immediately provide details on where and how Brittany was found. Police have scheduled a news conference for 8 p.m.

By Associated Press  | December 10, 2010; 7:20 PM ET
Categories:  Missing Persons, Updates, Virginia  
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Never underestimate the power of prayer.

Posted by: hakafos44 | December 10, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse


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Posted by: shoestrade30 | December 10, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

... or of actual police work, hakafos44.

Posted by: worldbwise | December 10, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank the Lord ... and ... excellent police work! Honestly, I didn't think we'd ever see this girl again. What a wonderful Christmas gift for her family!

Posted by: TommyMcGuire | December 10, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

This is fabulous news, even though this poor girl and her remaining family will now have to begin grieving for her mother.

My condolences to them all.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 10, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Never thought this story would have a happy outcome. Sometimes miracles do happen. I just hope the girl gets past this and enjoys a long happy life.

Posted by: Pilot1 | December 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad the young lady was found physically unharmed. She's got a rough road ahead and people need to be very patient. My prayers go out for her and her family. If her kidnapper killed her mom, I hope she didn't witness it.

Posted by: skinfreak | December 11, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Washington Post: I am glad this young girl was found alive. I was wondering if you could do some similar amount of coverage of Prince Okorie. He was just a few years older than this girl, and he live IN DC. Unfortunately, he was found DEAD. The cops arrested his killer, but all we have is a 2 sentence story. Why did he kill this little kid? What is the motive? Pictures? Every murder victim has a story .....

Posted by: darrren12000 | December 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

darren, Prince was killed at or next to a known drug house (I live on the next block) that is a frequent source of trouble in the area. Whether he was actually targeted or in the wrong place at the wrong time I don't know. And yes, WP should have better crime coverage but they don't. Illiteracy in DC is very high (1/3 of the city or so) and the Post doesn't get much business there, so they focus a lot on the suburbs as that's where most of their readership is. Also, there will probably be 150 murders in DC this year, about 20-30 of them teens, so WP generally can't keep up and doesn't try to. Sad.

Posted by: plugugly7 | December 11, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Is Prince Okorie a pretty white girl? No? Well I guess there's your answer.

Posted by: ozpunk | December 11, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Heads-up single moms: when you discover that the brain damaged tattooed cracker you met on the internet is having sex with your 12 year old daughter, consider your next move carefully.

Posted by: rivermoon | December 11, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

ozpunk, by that measure the Afro American newspaper should have complete coverage of Prince. Let me check... Nope, not one word there either. Don't forget to blame whitey for that one too.

Posted by: plugugly7 | December 11, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Darren - This story isn't about race. It's about a 12-year old girl taken by a suspect in her mother's death, and a person across the country recognizing the suspect and young girl. That's what the story is. Had someone not recognized her, this story could have had a very different ending.

Posted by: PGneedsaccountability | December 11, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse


We need both these days with what is happening to our children.

Posted by: hakafos44 | December 11, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

And bless the Good Samaritan who saw her with him and called authorities.

Posted by: hakafos44 | December 11, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

It is good news to hear the daughter was found unhurt, bad to hear the mother was probably murdered and added to that the suspicious actions of the dead mother's child and boyfriend.

As for the comments on what accounts for news in this paper: it is only news if it can be capitalized on and can sell the paper.

Posted by: glenglish | December 11, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

PGneeds: the tragedy in this story isn't about race. the disparity in crime reporting at the post is absolutely about race. i can't even say it's just class -- because i'm guessing this girl is not from a wealthy family.

anyway, i acknowledge that this is a tragedy. but there are so many others. and to the person who says that people in dc can't read: ???? this certainly is untrue, and it cannot explain the disparity. even when the post reports dc homicides, you see the same pattern of attention and inattention.

Posted by: darrren12000 | December 12, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

Plugugly: i read on another website that okorie was shot because he was believed to have snitched in another murder case. the post is so dismissive of okorie, but there was actually a big scoop in the case. he was supposedly the snitch in the tragic murder of neil godleski -- a case that generated a lot of attention because he was a very popular student at catholic u (and yes, white). the post could have tied those two stories together, but it's so dismissive of young black homicides that it missed the chance.

Posted by: darrren12000 | December 12, 2010 4:47 AM | Report abuse

It's very tragic the little girl's mother is dead, and hopefully, some other stupid woman will read this story and think twice before she so casually and quickly lets some guy shack up with her. And with a 12-year-old daughter in the house!! It blows my mind. Frankly, I don't care how decent the guy appeared to be, if I were a single mother with daughters still living at home, no way would I ever entertain the thought of him moving in with me. This tragedy never would have happened if Brittany's mother had thought more of her daughter than her sex life.

Posted by: babs1 | December 12, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse


that about sum it right up!!!!!
she helped kill her mom

no remorse for this little girl
this was HER boyfriend NOT the moms!!!!

Posted by: wendy_lewis2 | December 13, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

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