Brittany Mae Smith, the 12-year-old girl who was missing for more than a week, is on her way back to Virginia to be reunited with her family.
Smith is being accompanied by two Roanoke County detectives and will be reunited with her family at an undisclosed location tonight, Roanoke County Public Information Officer Teresa Hamilton Hall told ABC affliliate WSET.
The family of Brittany is relieved that she is safe after being allegedly abducted by 32-year-old Jeffrey Scott Easley, the suspect in the murder of Brittany's mother.
Brittany's grandmother, Elizabeth Dyer, said that she is eager to hold her granddaughter. Dyer said the family has been overwhelmed by the support and effort to help find Brittany.
"Thanks everybody, bless each of you and if I could hug and kiss each one of you, I would," Dyer told WSET.
Investigators from Roanoke, Va. traveled over the weekend to San Francisco where Smith and Easley were found.
A Safeway supermarket employee spotted the two and called police. Smith and Easley were reportedly panhandling near the grocery store. Police quickly took the pair into custody without resistance.
The last time they were last spotted before beign taken into custody was Dec. 3 at a Walmart in Salem, Va., buying camping equipment. The tent they had purchased together was found nearby after their arrests.
The 2005 silver Dodge Neon that belonged to Brittany's murdered mother was located near San Francisco International Airport.
Easley is now officially a suspect in the murder of Brittany's mother, 41-year-old Tina Smith. When Tina Smith failed to show up for work Dec. 6, police went to the home and found her body. They then learned that Brittany had disappeared.
"Now that she's been found, we will be headed back to Roanoke soon," Detective John McPhail said Sunday. "The Roanoke police department's focus has shifted to the murder investigation."
Brittany Mae Smith on Her Way Home; Jeffrey Easley Remains in Prison
Easley, an ex-landscaper, met Tina Smith online last summer. By October, he was living with the Smith family.
Brittany Smith's great-aunt, Lois Choquette, told ABC affiliate KGO that she first met Easley on Thanksgiving and was immediately suspicious about the way Easley interacted with the seventh-grader.
"He was touching her hair and touching her hands and just gazing at her," said Choquette. "It was like he wanted to consume her with his eyes. It was just gross."
Choquette said she called Child Protective Services and a child abuse hotline four times the following day and never heard back. She also called the girl's mother to express concern, KGO reports.
Investigators have not given further details about the nature of Easley's relationship with Brittany. The middle schooler's Facebook page lists her name as Brittany Easley instead of her legal name. Her MySpace page's latest update reads, "Brittany Easleys what they call me."
Easley is being held in San Francisco County jail without bond in connection with the murder. Easley is in the wing of the San Francisco County Jail reserved for those under psychiatric observation, WSET reported.
Easley also faces charges of abduction and credit card fraud. An extradition hearing is expected to be held for Easley Tuesday morning.
Authorities won't say why the two went to California. They did say that Brittany was unharmed and is aware that her mom is dead.