WITN Facebook Post Helped Locate Amber Alert Victim & Murder Suspect

A South Carolina woman now knows first-hand that social media is a powerful tool.

Carol Gause was the Florence motel owner who helped end a multi-state manhunt for an accused killer and his abducted 11-year-old daughter.

Gause spotted the pictures of the two on a friend's Facebook post who had reposted WITN's original report on the Amber Alert. North Carolina authorities issued the alert Friday afternoon because they had information the two might be in Northampton County. Four hours later, Gause was sitting behind the desk at the Colonial Inn, and spotted WITN's post while taking a break.

"When I saw the picture I knew that's who it was," Gause told WITN. "Then I got up and called the police."

Timothy Virts was wanted for the Thursday morning murder of his wife outside of Baltimore, and the abduction of Caitlyn. The two checked into Gause's motel Thursday night.

Friday evening, Gause recognized the man and called 911. Minutes after her call, a police SWAT team had the father under arrest and the child safely in their custody.

Gause says she is not big on Facebook, occasionally checking it and making a comment every now and then. But Friday night's actions has changed all that.

"I'm more aware now and that I don't need to just barely look at things," says Gause. "I think when I see notices and stories on Facebook, that I'll be more apt to pay attention. You think that it's too far away and it won't affect you. I think a lot of times we don't pay any attention, but now I think I'll be more aware and take the time to look at things closely."


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