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Police: 12-year-old Virginia girl kidnapped; her mother's body found

By the CNN Wire Staff
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12-year-old girl abducted; mom dead
  • NEW: Police say they issued Amber Alert after learning the girl wasn't at school
  • Brittany Mae Smith of Salem, Virginia, is in "extreme danger," authorities say
  • Police issued the alert after finding the girl's mother dead in their home
  • The alleged abductor is a friend of the dead mother, authorities say
  • Virginia
  • Kidnapping

(CNN) -- Police issued an Amber Alert for a 12-year-old girl who they suspect has been kidnapped after finding her mother dead inside a Salem, Virginia, home.

Brittany Mae Smith was last seen "several days ago," according to a Roanoke County statement issued Monday. Police launched a search for Jeffrey Scott Easley, 32, whom authorities describe as a friend of the dead mother.

"Police have said that the young lady is in extreme danger," said Teresa Hamilton Hall, public information director for Roanoke County.

Roanoke County police went to the Salem residence around 9:30 a.m. Monday after concerned co-workers of Tina Smith, the girl's mother, contacted them. Police found the 41-year-old woman's body inside, and authorities said they were investigating the death as a possible homicide.

Police soon got information that Brittany Smith's whereabouts were unknown, leading them to issue the statewide alert.

"We found out pretty quickly that (Brittany) had not shown up for school. Nobody seemed to know where she was. We're concerned that her disappearance is going to be, at least a good possibility, it has something to do with the homicide," Roanoke County police Lt. Chuck Mason said, according to CNN affiliate WSET-TV of Lynchburg, Virginia.

Virginia's Amber Alert website noted early Monday evening that Easley's car, a 2000 red Chevrolet sport utility vehicle, has been found. But authorities are still looking for Tina Smith's vehicle, a silver 2005 Dodge Neon four-door sedan with Virginia license plates.

Easley, a 265-pound white male, is 5 feet, 11 inches tall, has brown hair and hazel eyes, the Amber Alert says.

Brittany Smith is 5 feet tall, weighs 100 pounds, and has straight brown hair and brown eyes.

Hall said authorities don't yet have a specific search area as they are uncertain which direction Easley might be heading or how far he might have gotten. They have asked anyone with information to call 911 or Roanoke County police at 540-777-8641.

CNN's Greg Botelho and Alexis Weed contributed to this report.