Man accused of abducting girl appears in Roanoke court

Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Roanoke man appeared in a Roanoke court this afternoon, accused of abducting his girlfriend's 12-year-old daughter and taking her to California.

Jeff Easley, 32, was arraigned on charges of kidnapping Brittany Smith.  He may eventually be charged in the murder of the child's mother.

Easley, unshaven and handcuffed and dressed in an orange jumpsuit, told the judge he didn't have money for a lawyer and needed a court appointed one.

Easley was captured a week ago today, panhandling outside a San Francisco supermarket, with 12 year old Brittany Smith.

The girl went missing after authorities found the body of her mother, Tina Smith, on November 29. The death is considered a homicide, but no charges have been filed yet.

Still police consider him a suspect. Easley had been her live-in boyfriend.

According to the Roanoke Times, Easley is being held in isolation, under suicide watch. Neither the lawyer nor police would say why.  He's expected to return to court in February.

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