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Brittany's back home; more details surface in homicide

Brittany Mae Smith, the 12-year-old former South Boston resident who has been the subject of a weeklong nationwide search, is safe at home in South Boston with family members, who are now preparing for a Saturday memorial service for Brittany’s mother, Tina Dyer Smith.

When contacted Tuesday at her Eastover Drive residence, Elizabeth Dyer, stepmother of the late Tina Smith, said she is “hoping the news media will give us time to say ‘goodbye.’”

The family’s ordeal began in Salem on Dec. 3 and ended a week later on Friday at a Safeway Store in San Francisco.

As part of the ongoing abduction and murder investigation, on Saturday a search warrant was executed at a residence on Garden City Boulevard in the City of Roanoke, said Roanoke County Police spokesperson Teresa Hamilton Hall.

According to the search warrant affidavit, police were searching for items connected to both offenses. Several items including televisions and DVDs were seized from the Garden City Boulevard home. Two people at the residence, Adam McElvy and Jordan McClure, were named in the affidavit.

The affidavit alleges Brittany Smith’s suspected abductor, 32-year-old Jeffery Scott Easley, sold a red 2000 Chevrolet SUV to McElvy and McClure sometime during the evening hours of Friday, Dec. 3. Roanoke County Police recovered the vehicle on Dec. 6.

The affidavit states the television, DVD player and DVDs that were reported missing from Tina Smith’s residence were in Easley’s Chevrolet SUV when McElvy and McClure bought it on Dec. 3.

At this time, neither McElvy nor McClure is a suspect or person of interest in either crime, however, police have ruled no one out, Hall said.

Brittany returned to Virginia late Monday night, accompanied by two Roanoke County detectives who were sent to San Francisco shortly after authorities had been notified of the girl’s location.

She was released to her family members who were at the airport to greet her.

Monday night Brittany’s father, South Boston Police Officer Benjamin H. “Benny” Smith, spoke to the media for the first time since his daughter went missing.

Speaking from the lobby of the Roanoke County Public Safety Center and surrounded by a number of family members, Smith said he originally thought the happiest day of his life was when his daughter was born, but that had changed.

“Tonight has taken the number one spot,” Smith said.

After thanking law enforcement for never giving up, reporters for keeping Brittany’s picture out for people to see, and his pastor John Eure, Smith had a special “thank you” for Theresa Shanley.

Law enforcement authorities Monday identified Shanley as the woman who contacted police in San Francisco after recognizing Brittany and Easley from national media reports.

Shanley said she saw Smith and Easley outside a Safeway store, holding a cardboard sign.

Because of Shanley’s call to police, Easley was arrested, and Brittany was returned to her family in Virginia, Roanoke County Police officials said.

Describing her as “my hero,” Smith said, “It’s not anything that I can say to describe to you (Theresa Shanley) the way my heart feels about you. A simple ‘thank you,’ and God bless you.”

Smith said when he talked with Brittany the first time after she was located he had to find out if it really was her. He said he asked her the name of his dog and then asked her the name of her dog. Smith said that was when he knew it was his daughter.

The South Boston police officer said the family still needs prayers. He also said he is planning a lot of quiet time with Brittany.

Smith added the family will judge what to do next by how Brittany feels.

Attempts to contact Officer Smith and his daughter Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Prior to the pair’s discovery on Friday, Brittany and Easley had last been seen on a surveillance video at a Salem Walmart one week earlier on Dec. 3, three days before the body of Brittany’s mother was found.

Roanoke County Police found the body of Tina Smith on Dec. 6 in the Salem home she shared with her daughter and Easley.

Police then requested an Amber Alert for Brittany, launching the search that captured national media attention.

Roanoke County police obtained abduction, credit card theft and credit card fraud warrants against Easley, who also is a suspect in the murder of Brittany’s mother.

Roanoke County Police detectives traveled to San Francisco to interview Easley and bring 12-year old Brittany back home to her family, officials said.

The extradition hearing was held Tuesday when Easley waived extradition. He is expected to return to Virginia sometime today or Thursday to face charges of kidnapping and credit fraud, according to Hall.