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Maryland girl believed abducted by father after mother found dead

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Maryland man suspected of abducting his 11-year-old daughter is wanted by police in connection with the death of the girl's mother, authorities said on Friday.

The Baltimore County Police Department said it had obtained an arrest warrant for Timothy Virts, 38, who went missing with his daughter Caitlyn Marie Virts on Thursday.

The girl was last seen in the Dundalk, Maryland area and is believed to be in "in extreme danger," according to statements by the Baltimore County police and West Virginia State Police.

The warrant was issued in connection with the death of Bobbie Jo Cortez, 36, Caitlyn's mother. Police found her dead in her bedroom with multiple cut wounds to her upper body, police said in a statement.

Virts had been staying at Cortez's house. Virts and his daughter are believed to be driving a black 1999 Dodge Durango.

An Amber Alert, issued by law enforcement, broadcasters and other agencies in cases of serious child abductions, has been issued for the missing girl.

"Police are concerned for the safety of Caitlyn Marie Virts since she is not supposed to be with her father," the statement said.

The Dodge Durango belongs to Cortez's husband, who is being held in the Baltimore County jail on sex offense charges.

Cortez had lived at the Dundalk home with Caitlyn, her twin sister and a son and with two adults with unverified relationships with the mother, the statement said.

The other two children are safe and in the custody of family members, police said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Ellen Wulfhorst and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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