SAFFORD, AZ — A Safford child has been found after disappearing more than a week ago and a man with a history of child rape and kidnapping has been arrested, officials say.
Betty Taylor was last seen near Swift Trail Junction on March 20.
“Not knowing where she’s at, not having a clue. I mean, she went out on a walk one beautiful sunny Sunday, and she disappeared,” Danny Taylor, the girl's uncle, previously said in tears.
Hundreds of people aided in the search for Betty, with teams searching by air and ground.
On Wednesday, the Graham County Sheriff's Office confirmed she was found safe in South Carolina.
Timothy M. Schultheis, 23, of South Carolina, was arrested in connection with her disappearance.
On Tuesday, March 29, the FBI contacted the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina regarding a fugitive, identified as Schultheis, who was wanted in the suspected kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl from Arizona and bringing her to his apartment in Bluffton, SC.
At that point, Schultheis was listed as a wanted person in the National Crime Information Center by Arizona authorities. This allowed BCSO to obtain an arrest warrant for Schultheis and a warrant to search his apartment.
Early Wednesday morning, Sheriff’s deputies, SWAT members, and FBI agents served the warrant at the apartment and immediately located 12-year-old Betty who was unharmed, officials announced.
The girl was taken to a hospital for evaluation and has since been released and is awaiting the arrival of her family to pick her up.
We've learned that Schultheis has a history of kidnapping children and sexually assaulting them.
In September 2020, Schultheis was arrested in South Carolina for kidnapping two sisters, ages 10 and 12. It was later determined the older sister was sexually assaulted. He was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor second-degree, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
He was taken to the Beaufort County Detention and incarcerated. Schultheis posted bond and was released that same day.
Investigators then obtained a warrant to search Schultheis's apartment where they found a mobile telephone and other electronic devices, which were subjected to forensic analyses.
Due to the new findings, on December 22, 2020, Schultheis was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of unlawful acts to disseminate obscene material to a person under 18 years of age.
Schultheis, again, posted bond and was released from the Beaufort County Detention Center the following day.
As a condition of his bond, Schultheis was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.
Schultheis's electronic monitor was on his ankle at the time of this morning's arrest.
He was arrested and booked into jail while he awaits extradition to Arizona.
No further information has been released.