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Missing Safford girl located in SC; man previously accused of kidnapping arrested

Man arrested for kidnapping, custodial interference
Timothy Schultheis
Posted at 7:14 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 07:27:33-04

SAFFORD, AZ — A Safford child has been found after disappearing more than a week ago and a man with a history of accusations of child rape and kidnapping has been arrested, officials say.

Twelve-year-old 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 — with no success.

However, on Wednesday, the Graham County Sheriff's Office confirmed she was found safe in South Carolina.

Bonnie Jones says she had a feeling her daughter, Betty Taylor would be home soon, and was overjoyed when she got the call from law enforcement.

"It did blow our minds that she was on the east coast. Nobody saw that coming," Jones said.

Timothy M. Schultheis, 23, of South Carolina, was arrested in connection with her disappearance.

Timothy Schultheis

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.

"I don't know if he tracked her or if she trusted him or what, but I was told she's safe and she's not hurt," said Betty's mom. Jones told ABC5 the two met online.

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.

The F.B.I. has since arranged flights for Betty's dad to fly out and come back to Arizona, with her, Thursday.

Jones credits prayer, law enforcement, and the community for her safe return.

Here's her message to other parents: "You cannot be careful enough. You cannot be safe enough. If you're in your kid's business and it gets on their nerves, good. You're doing it right."

At this time, the family is just happy Betty is finally coming home. In the meantime, Betty's mom and dad tell ABC15 there's a lot of healing to be done, but they're thankful they will soon be back together.

Suspect has history of accusations

ABC15 has learned Schultheis has a history of accusations of kidnapping children and sexually assaulting them.

In September 2020, Schultheis was arrested in South Carolina, accused of 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 Center but 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. His electronic monitor was on his ankle at the time of Wednesday's arrest.

ABC15 reached out to authorities in South Carolina asking how it was that Schultheis was even able to get to Arizona in the first place, given he was out on bond and wearing an ankle monitor. We are waiting to hear back.

Schultheis now awaits extradition to Arizona.