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Aunt Pleads for Brittany Mae Smith to Come Home in Time for Christmas

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ROANOKE, Va.) -- Relatives of missing 12-year-old Brittany Mae Smith appealed Thursday to the man suspected of holding her to let the girl come home safely for Christmas.

The women, all sisters of Brittany's murdered mother Tina Smith, directed their pleas at Jeffrey Scott Easley, a 32-year-old man who moved in with Brittany and her mother in October and was last seen on a surveillance camera leaving a Walmart store in Salem, Va. with Brittany last Friday.

"Mr. Easley, I know you don't know me, but, sir, please let Brittany come home for Christmas," said Rhonda, one of Brittany's aunts, at a press conference. The women did not want to reveal their last names.

The search for Brittany and Easley now spans eight states and police have received 500 tips.

Police issued an Amber Alert for Brittany on Dec. 6 after discovering the body of her 41-year-old mother.  A coroner ruled the death a homicide. Police said that finding Brittany and Easley is key to the murder investigation.

The search for the missing seventh grader led law enforcement to issue Amber Alerts in North Carolina, California, Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. Billboards with Brittany's picture have also been put up in those states, too.

Roanoke County, Va. Police Chief Ray Lavinder also said that investigators believe someone may be helping Easley and Brittany.

"I'm almost positive that someone out there knows where Brittany and Mr. Easley are. The weather has been very bad...they need food. Someone, if they are still in this region, is hiding them, I'm certain of that," Lavinder said.

Lavinder has asked motorists to be on the lookout for Tina Smith's 2005 silver Dodge Neon with the Virginia tag XKR-2365. Attached to the back of the car is a spoiler.

Easley, described as 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, is believed to have family in North Carolina and Alabama. Easley has two tattoos: a red star and a black tribal sign.

Brittany is five feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. She has straight brown hair and brown eyes. She is wearing several bracelets including a bright green rubber bracelet with yellow cursive writing. The bracelet is in memory of her brother who died last summer.

If you know anything about Brittany Mae Smith's disappearance, authorities urge you to e-mail or call the Roanoke County Police at 540-777-8641 or the Virginia State Police at 1-800-822-4453.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

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