Sex offender arrested days after dropping off girl at Wal-Mart

A sex offender who ran off with a 15-year-old Florida girl and then released her at a Wal-Mart store was arrested Friday.

Polk County Sheriff's Office officials said William Joe Mitchell
was arrested by Virginia State Police at a gas station in
Winchester, Virginia.

No further details were immediately available.

The girl sneaked out of her house before dawn on Monday and met
Mitchell. Her disappearance spurred a statewide manhunt that ended
a day later.

She told friends she was running away for love, to be
with a boy she met online. She believed Mitchell to be in his early
20s.

Police believe heavy publicity in the hours after the girl
disappeared pressured him into dropping her off at a Wal-Mart in
the Florida Panhandle.


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