ROANOKE, Va. -- A police chief in Virginia says he believes someone may be hiding a 12-year-old girl and a man she disappeared with after the child's mother was found dead.

Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder also said Wednesday morning that a warrant has been issued charging 32-year-old Jeffrey Scott Easley with abduction.

Lavinder said at a news conference that Easley and Brittany Mae Smith seemed to "just drop off the face of the Earth" without much money. That's why he thinks someone is helping Easley evade a nationwide search.

Authorities found the body of Brittany's 41-year-old mother, Tina Smith, at her home in Salem on Monday. Smith was Easley's live-in girlfriend. Authorities have ruled the death a homicide but aren't saying how she died.