Updated: 10:07 a.m. March 9, 2014

LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) – The Amber Alert has been canceled for 11-year-old Caitlyn Virts who was found with her father, Timothy, at a South Carolina motel.

Police say Caitlyn Virts appears to be unharmed, and she will be returned home as soon as possible.

Timothy Virts is in custody.

Detectives will be traveling to South Carolina to continue the investigation.

Virts and his daughter were located at the Colonial Inn, according to local police in Florence. They first rented a room on Thursday night, said owner Carol Gause.

“They looked fine. She just walked right up with her father. I didn’t notice anything,” Gause said by phone from the hotel Saturday.

Gause was checking her Facebook page from the front desk around 7 p.m. Friday when she saw the Amber Alert posted by a friend and immediately recognized Virts and his daughter. She called police and officers quickly arrived. She said Virts was arrested without problems and his daughter appeared to be OK.

“I was startled, but I wasn’t worried or frightened. You don’t expect to ever be involved in something like this,” Gause said. “But I called police and they took over.”

Caitlyn Virts went missing at about 7 a.m. Thursday in the Dundalk area.

Authorities were called to a home in the 3100 block of Ardee Way in Dundalk just after 9 a.m. Thursday for a person in cardiac arrest. When they arrived, they encountered a “violent scene” and found a woman — identified as Caitlyn’s mother, Bobbie Jo Cortez — dead inside the home.

Police say she sustained multiple cut wounds to her upper body.

Baltimore County Police issued an arrest warrant for Timothy Virts, 38, in connection with Cortez’s death on Friday morning.

Investigators then learned that Caitlyn was missing from the home and issued an Amber Alert for her at about 10:45 a.m.

Cortez’s other two children — Caitlyn’s twin sister and a son — were at the home when authorities arrived. Police didn’t say who found Cortez dead in her bedroom. The other children living in the home are safe and with relatives, police said.

Police say two other adults lived at the home with Cortez, and that Timothy Virts also lived at the home for the past few weeks.

Police don’t know what custody arrangements the parents had and they want to question Virts about Cortez’s death.

Cortez’s husband, 38-year-old Daniel Cortez, is currently in jail at the Baltimore County Detention Center on several charges of sex abuse of a minor. He was indicted on those charges on Wednesday, according to online court records.

(TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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