With assistance from the FBI, the Baltimore County Police Department's search for Caitlyn Virts and her father, Timothy Virts, broadened today to a nationwide search. Timothy and Caitlyn Virts have been missing since yesterday morning.

Updated Vehicle Description

Because Timothy Virts -- wanted on a warrant for the first-degree murder for Caitlyn's mother, Bobbie Jo Cortez -- has not been located in Maryland, police believe he may have left the state. BCoPD believe Virts may be armed and that he is dangerous. If you see him or the vehicle he is believed to be driving -- a black, 1999 Dodge Durango with Maryland tag #5AJ4458 -- call 911 immediately.

Police have provided a more detailed description of the Durango. The vehicle has the following stickers affixed to its rear:

  • Upper right -- a Redskins sticker
  • Upper left -- a Ravens sticker
  • Middle left -- a Zombie stick family sticker
  • Right bumper -- a bumper sticker that reads, "Protected by Witchcraft"

Homicide Details

Bobbie Jo Cortez was found dead yesterday morning in the bedroom of her home in the 3100 block of Ardee Way, Dundalk. About the same time Mrs. Cortez' body was discovered, occupants of the home also discovered that Caitlyn and Timothy Virtz were missing.

The state Medical Examiner has ruled Mrs. Cortez' death a homicide caused by sharp force injury.

The investigation shows that Mrs. Cortez lived at the Ardee Way home with her three children -- Caitlyn, Caitlyn's twin sister and a son -- and with two adults whose relationships with the victim have not been verified. Also, for the past several weeks Mrs. Cortez allowed Timothy Virts to live at the home.

Since an Amber Alert for Caitlyn Virts was issued yesterday morning, BCoPD has follow up on dozens of tips, none of which have panned out so far. These tips included information that Virts may have connections in West Virginia.

Today, Chief Jim Johnson urged citizens to continue to look out for Timothy and Caitlyn Virts and the Dodge Durango and to report any information as soon as possible.

Johnson said that he has directed all necessary resources to be invested in the search for Caitlyn, who police believe may be in danger since she is not supposed to be with her father. "Her safe return is the priority," he said.

Besides the FBI, the search for Caitlyn involves the U.S. Marshal's Office and law enforcement agencies throughout the region,  including the Maryland State Police.

The Dodge Durango that Virts is believed to be driving is registered to Daniel Williams Cortez, 38. Cortez is the victim's husband. He currently is held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on various sex offense charges.

Detectives do not believe that Cortez' criminal history has anything to do with Bobbie Jo Cortez' murder or Caitlyn Virts' abduction. 

Police cannot speculate on a motive for the murder, or why Virts took Caitlyn. Investigators are looking at the family relationships and any history of contact with Baltimore County Government.