CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – An unidentified body was found in rural Johnson County Friday as police searched for a 10-year-old mentally challenged girl believed to have been abducted by a sex offender.
Roger Bentley (search), the man suspected of kidnapping Jetseta Marrie Gage and described as a family acquaintance, was being questioned by investigators. Gage's whereabouts were still unknown, police said.
But authorities canceled a statewide Amber Alert that had been issued late Thursday night, when the girl was reported missing.
Bentley, 37, was taken into custody around 7 a.m. CST in Johnson County. His black and silver pickup truck was found, but Cedar Rapids (search) police did not say where. So far, no charges have been filed.
Trena Gage, the missing girl's mother, said she was at school at Hamilton College when her daughter was taken by Bentley.
"My mom gave my daughter her medicine and sent her to bed," Gage told KCRG-TV. "Roger, this guy who has taken her, left about 8:15 saying he'd be back today to finish working on our transmission. My son said he saw my daughter in the truck and he thought that she had permission cause we've know him for so long."
Gage said her mother went to check on the child at about 8:30 p.m. CST and she was gone.
"She looked all over the house and she called me hysterical."
Police said Bentley took the child at about 8:15 p.m. CST and left in his truck.
Bentley is a registered sex offender. According to the state's Sex Offender Registry (search), he was convicted in 1994 in Benton County of lascivious acts with a child.
Gage is white, 4-feet-6-inches tall and 90 pounds. She has brown, wavy, shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She was wearing an orange coat and purple pants. Anyone who might have information leading to Gage's whereabouts was asked to call Cedar Rapids Police at 319-286-5491.
Police were getting most of their information about the abduction from the girl's 7-year-old brother, Cedar Rapids police Lt. Kelly Fitzpatrick said early Friday.
"The grandmother and children were there. The grandmother was looking out for them and that the acquaintance took the 10-year-old without permission," Fitzpatrick.
Police don't know why Bentley took the child or where they were headed, he said.
"Believe me, we've been hitting a lot of leads to try and find her," Fitzpatrick said.
He said investigators were still trying to determine how Bentley took the child.
The grandmother was in the house "but not there to prevent the 10-year-old from disappearing, no," he said.
The search for the little girl comes a month after a missing Florida girl first drew national attention. The body of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford (search) was found Sunday; John Couey, a convicted sex offender, has been charged with her murder.
No one was home at the Gages' Friday afternoon, but a van remained parked in the driveway, its front end hoisted on blocks. Detectives walked in and out of the house, at one point carrying brown bags filled with items taken from the home.
Two drivers from the Century Cab Co., which drove Jetseta Gage to school every day, placed a pot of flowers and a teddy bear in the front yard.
"She's just a little sweetheart," Kelly said of Gage. "The whole cab company is really depressed about this."
Gage attended the CITE program at St. Luke's Hospital, a program for children with emotional, behavioral, social or educational needs.
Jessica Smith, 29, who lives down the street, said her 4-year-old daughter Sally frequently played with Gage. She said she told her daughter that Gage was missing.
"It's horrible and sad, it just makes me sick," Smith said Friday while playing in her yard with her daughter.
"It always bothers me," she said. "It's always tough to hear about those things, but when it's right next door, it's ten times harder."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.