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Police arrest registered sex offender suspected of luring teen online

  • Story Highlights
  • Police arrest registered sex offender William Joe Mitchell at Virginia truck stop
  • Mitchell suspected of luring teen girl on
  • Girl found in Wal-Mart parking lot earlier this week, after alleged abduction
  • Girl left house in middle of night to meet up with Mitchell, sheriff said
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(CNN) -- Police on Saturday arrested a registered sex offender suspected of luring a 15-year-old girl on, authorities said.

William Joe Mitchell, a registered sex offender, is suspected of luring a 15-year-old girl online.

William Joe Mitchell was apprehended at a "The Flying J Truck Stop" just outside of Winchester, Virginia, authorities said. Virginia State Police arrested him without incident.

Detectives received a tip Saturday that he was at the truck stop, located off Interstate 81, according to the Polk County sheriff's department.

Personal items belonging to the teenager were found in his car, according to the sheriff's statement.

Mitchell had allegedly been communicating with Alyssa Frank on the popular Web site, officials said.

Mitchell, 46, told Frank he was 24 years old, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told CNN.

Virginia and Polk County, Florida, authorities and the U.S. Marshals Service in Tampa, Florida, were working together on the case.

Polk County Sheriff's detectives found Frank earlier this week, one day after she disappeared. She was found wandering around a Wal-Mart store in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, and had apparently been abandoned by her alleged abductor. A store employee called police after noticing the girl.

Mitchell took Frank to the store in an apparent attempt to "dump her," Judd said.

Mitchell, in leaving the girl, told her not to draw attention to herself or he would kill her, Judd said in a statement.

Frank is believed to have left her house in Bartow, Florida, before dawn Monday to rendezvous with Mitchell, Judd said. He then apparently took her to Alabama.

Mitchell brought her back to DeFuniak Springs, which is between Pensacola and Tallahassee on the Florida Panhandle.

Polk County authorities said Mitchell faces charges including solicitation to commit a lewd act; enticing a child via the Internet; interference with custody; and traveling to meet a minor. He also is sought on warrants from Jacksonville, Florida, and Alabama, said Polk County sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Wood.

The teen's father, Rodger Frank, told CNN Saturday he had no idea his daughter had been communicating with Mitchell. He urged parents to talk to their kids about what they are doing online.

"We've had serious talks about [not putting] information of your own out there to the people," he said. "The Internet is for information. It's not a playground."


Frank said he is installing spy software on his computer to help him monitor what his daughter is doing. "We think our children are well-behaved," he said. "We have to watch them harder. We don't know everything."

Speaking with Rodger Frank, Judd warned others who are trying to take advantage of young people. "We'll hunt you down like the felon and criminal you are," he said. "You keep your hands off our children." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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