Motel owner recognizes Virts, calls police

Carol Gause says she's no hero

FLORENCE, SC - The woman who recognized Caitlyn Virts from the Amber Alert warning, and called police, says she does not want to be considered a hero.

Carol Gause and her husband have owned the Colonial Inn motel in Florence, South Carolina for more than 30 years.

She says on Thursday night around 7:30, Timothy Verts checked into the motel, along with his daughter Caitlyn. She says nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

"Him and his daughter both came to the window; she looked fine I didn't suspect anything wrong," she said.

Friday morning, Timothy Virts came to the office and paid for a second night.

That afternoon, Gause started flipping through Facebook on her tablet.

"A friend of mine had posted an amber alert on Facebook," she said.  It featured the photos of Timothy and Caitlyn Virts.

RELATED: 'Keyboard crime fighting' found Caitlyn Virts

"When I saw it there was just no doubt in my mind who it was," Gause said.  "It just startled me because I was surprised that I was seeing that they were here."

She compared the name on the Amber Alert with the man who had checked in to room 101 at the Colonial Inn, and it matched.  Timothy Virts had not tried to use a false name while on the run.

That's when she called police.  First, two Florence Police officers came -- followed by many more.  She says Virts surrendered peacefully.

"They knocked on the door, he answered the door, so nothing took place," she said.

Gause also saw Caitlyn Virts, briefly, after her father's arrest.

"I saw a lot of police officers around her, and covered her up or whatever and then put her in the car and that's all I saw. And they took her away," she said.

Gause said she believes she did what anyone else would have done.

"What I really feel like is that it was the prayers that people had put up for her and because of those prayers all these things took place. These things didn't happen by chance, she said.  "The friend of mine posting this on Facebook, me seeing it on Facebook, the guy choosing to come to my motel, me renting to him and the fact that I was the one that rented and saw him. I don't feel like any of it was by chance. I feel like prayers were offered up for this girl, and I feel like The Lord just intervened and he just let me be a part of taking care of getting her back safe. And I'm just glad I was able to be a part of it." 

Timothy Virts is being held at the Florence County Jail. He has waived extradition and will be brought back to Maryland to face murder and kidnapping charges as soon as officers arrive to pick him up.

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