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Attorney for man accused of abducting daughter seeks to postpone trial

Baltimore County Police say that Timothy Virts abducted his daughter and killed her mother Bobbie Jo Cortez at her Dundalk home in 2014.
Baltimore County Police say that Timothy Virts abducted his daughter and killed her mother Bobbie Jo Cortez at her Dundalk home in 2014. (Florence City Police)

A Baltimore County man accused of abducting his daughter after allegedly killing the girl's mother needs further mental evaluation, according to his attorney, who is seeking to postpone his client's trial.

Timothy Virts, 38, is charged in the March killing of Bobbie Jo Cortez, 36, and the abduction of their 11-year-old daughter, Caitlyn. Authorities in multiple states searched for the father and daughter in a high-profile pursuit before the pair were recognized in South Carolina by a motel owner who had seen an Amber Alert on Facebook.

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Virts could be sentenced to life in prison. He was indicted in April on charges including murder, kidnapping and attempted sexual abuse.

A criminal motions hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, with a trial set to start this month. In June, Virts pleaded not criminally responsible for the charges by reason of insanity. Lawyer Mark Van Bavel said this week he would ask the judge to delay the trial because Virts still must undergo more psychiatric screening.

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"Until we know his mental capacity, to proceed with any hearing would be inappropriate," he said.

Virts has been evaluated since entering his plea, but a court psychiatrist also has referred him to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a state-run facility in Jessup, for further screening. The hospital does not yet have a bed available for Virts, according to Van Bavel.

The prosecutor handling the case could not be reached Wednesday.

Police allege that Virts stabbed Cortez in their Dundalk home, stole her Dodge Durango and abducted Caitlyn. Cortez and Virts had a scheduled court hearing in which Virts "could have lost visitation/custody" rights, investigators wrote in charging documents.

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