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Man In Custody After Missing Arizona Girl Found Alive In South Carolina
Betty Sue Taylor, 12, disappeared from her Arizona home after telling family members she was going for a walk. Timothy Schultheis has been arrested in the case.
The search for a missing Arizona teen has ended, and the man she was with is in custody for her alleged kidnapping.
Betty Sue Taylor, 12, disappeared from the Thunderbird Mobile Home Park on March 20 after telling relatives she was going for a walk, as previously reported. According to family members and the Graham County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, she was found safe in South Carolina on Wednesday.
“My friends and I have been praising God since that call last night,” Betty’s mother, Bonnie Jones, told Oxygen.com on Wednesday. “Can’t wait to see my beautiful Betty!”
Officials with the sheriff’s office said they discovered information on Tuesday pertaining to a 23-year-old man named Timothy M. Schultheis of South Carolina. He was arrested on Hilton Head Island following an investigation conducted by several law enforcement agencies.
“The Graham County Attorney’s Office, based on the facts known at the time, issued an arrest warrant for kidnapping and custodial interference, which was entered into the NCIC system on the evening of March 29, 2022,” officials stated. “On March 30, 2022, the FBI and local law enforcement in South Carolina arrested Timothy Schultheis, and Betty Taylor was found to be with him and is now safe.”
Arrangements are being made to connect Betty with her parents, authorities said.
“The officers came over at around two o’clock in the morning, and when I first seen them, my heart just dropped,” Betty’s uncle, Danny Taylor, told Oxygen.com. “Then I overheard the conversation when I woke my brother up and told them they were outside and she’s been found. I was like, ‘Oh, hell yeah. She’s alive!’”
The link between Schultheis and the missing teen is unclear. Schultheis was booked into a facility in Beaufort County, where he awaits extradition back to Arizona.
Jail records show Schultheis, who has a Bluffton, South Carolina address, was booked into jail at 11:58 a.m. on Wednesday.
“We are so very thankful she’s been found safe and unharmed,” Betty’s aunt, Stephanie Buck-Witte, told Oxygen.com. “We thank everyone who shared her fliers, our posts, and for the many prayers.”
As previously reported, Betty’s father, Justin Taylor, filed a missing persons report around 8:00 p.m. on March 20. Betty left the Safford home at around 11:00 a.m. to go for a walk and never returned.
Searches commenced around the desert terrain surrounding the missing teenager’s home, and friends and family voiced suspicions that her disappearance might have been connected to people she was secretly talking to on the internet.
Danny Taylor told Oxygen.com that they had yet to speak with Betty, who remains in South Carolina, and that law enforcement hadn’t given them details about the girl’s disappearance.
“Right now, we’re excited, [and] we’re confused, too, as to how this happened,” said Danny. “But the main thing is she is found, and she is safe.”
The Graham County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is ongoing, but thanked the FBI and law enforcement agencies in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Carolina, as well as media outlets who assisted in the search for Betty Sue Taylor.
A court date has yet to be scheduled for Timothy Schultheis.