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

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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