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More details released after missing girl found safe

ROANOKE – Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder announced that missing 12-year-old Brittany Mae Smith and 32-year-old Jeffrey Scott Easley have been safely located in San Francisco.
Friday afternoon Brittany and Easley were in a retail store in San Francisco when a woman recognized them from a broadcast news report, according to a news release. San Francisco police were notified and immediately responded to the store. Easley was taken into custody without incident and is currently being held in San Francisco pending his extradition to Roanoke County, the release stated. Easley faces a felony abduction charge in Roanoke County and felony counts of attempted credit card fraud and credit card larceny in the City of Roanoke.

Brittany is safe with San Francisco Police and in good health. She has had the opportunity to talk with family in Virginia and will be returning home soon, police say.

San Francisco police notified Roanoke County Police of their discovery at 6 p.m. San Francisco police are processing the location where Brittany and Easley had been staying, which is not far from the retail store. Police are still searching for the silver 2005 Dodge Neon.

Brittany and Easley were last seen Dec. 3, in Roanoke County. On Monday Brittany’s mother, Tina, was found murdered at the home the three of them shared in Roanoke County. Thus began a nationwide search for Brittany and Easley and a homicide investigation into the circumstances surrounding Tina’s death.

Several Roanoke County Police detectives will head to California to work with California authorities and return Brittany and Easley to Virginia. Meanwhile, Roanoke County Police are continuing their investigation into the death of Brittany’s mother, Tina Smith.

“To Brittany’s family, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your patience and support during this past week,” said Lavinder. “Your willingness to go public and reach out to Brittany and Jeff took incredible courage and strength. We also thank Jeff’s family for their cooperation and for also making the difficult decision to come forward and make a public appeal to him.”

Lavinder also publicly recognized the more than 50 law enforcement personnel working this case from Roanoke County Police, State Police, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Secret Service, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, City of Salem Police, and City of Roanoke Police. “I personally want to extend my thanks to and applaud the incredible work accomplished by the team of investigators who have worked day and night since Monday to find Brittany and bring her home safely. Their outstanding professionalism, dedication, and skill have played a critical role in solving this case.”

In addition, Lavinder applauded the efforts of broadcast and print media in helping bring the search for Brittany and Easley to a successful resolve: “Thanks to the media’s vigilance and persistence to keep this story out there and keep the public informed, we are able to bring Brittany safely home to her family and put Jeffrey Easley behind bars where he belongs.”

The weeklong investigation generated more than 700 leads from the people and law enforcement agencies nationwide.