TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ An 18-month-old child was found unharmed in the arms of her dead mother after a custody battle ended in a murder-suicide, police said.

The baby's father, Charles C. Tolliver, 47, shot his estranged girlfriend in her Tampa apartment Wednesday, then flew to Columbia, S.C., and killed himself Thursday, said Hillsborough Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

A manager at the apartment complex found Gloria Goines, 39, dead in the living room, nearly 18 hours after the shooting, police said. Her daughter, Jimisha Carol Tolliver was lying in her mother's bloody arms.

Sheriff's investigators said Tolliver and Ms. Goins had been fighting over custody of the baby.

About the same time, police at Fort Jackson, an Army training base outside Columbia, called Tolliver's apartment manager in Tampa about a suicide at the base. Investigators went to the apartment and found a suicide note, but refused to describe its contents.

Tolliver was found in a rented car with a .38-caliber gunshot wound to the side of his head, according to coroner Frank Barron. Authorities said they didn't know why Tolliver, a member of the Air Force Reserve, went to the base, which is near his family's home.

The toddler was taken into custody by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.