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Tuesday
Dec072010

Amber Alert for Missing Virginia Girl After Mother Found Dead 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ROANOKE, Va.) -- Virginia police are "extremely concerned" about the safety of 12-year-old girl Brittany Mae Smith, who may be in the custody of a hulking man who police also want to interview about her mother's death.

Police, who have issued an Amber Alert for Brittany, asked motorists to be on the lookout for a 2005 silver Dodge Neon with the Virginia tag XKR-2365.

They are also hoping that Brittany is able to use her cell phone and send a message to one of her friends with whom she is normally in daily contact.

"We are extremely concerned with Brittany's safety and we've asked the state police to continue with the Amber Alert for another 24 hours," Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder said at a press conference. The officer said police believe Brittany is alive.

Authorities believe the seventh grader is with 32-year-old Jeffrey Scott Easley, who police want to question about the death of Brittany's mother, Tina.

When asked if Brittany was in danger, Lavinder said "absolutely."

Police discovered the death of Tina and Brittany's disappearance on Monday when they visited the family's home in Salem, Va.

"When our officers entered the residence, they found the body of 41-year-old Tina Smith. Her coworkers had contacted us after Mrs. Smith did not show up for work," Lavinder said.

Also missing is Tina Smith's 2005 silver Dodge Neon with the Virginia tag XKR-2365.

Easley, described as 5-foot-11, 265 pounds, is believed to have family in North Carolina and Alabama. The two may be headed in that direction, police said.

Easley, who works as a landscaper, was last seen Friday evening.

Investigators are still determining the relationship between Tina Smith and Easley. Lavinder said that the two met online in the summer and that Easley later moved into the family's home in October.

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