MARICOPA, Ariz. – A 6-year-old girl was abducted Friday by a registered sex offender who had been staying at her home, authorities said, and she was later found walking alone on a street the next town over.
Police were searching for George Richard Horner, 26, who had been staying with the girl and her mother for three days.
"We don't know if he's skipped out or gone to ground," said Capt. Jeff Karns of the Pinal County Sheriff's Department.
Horner was staying at the home after being introduced to the girl's mother by a mutual friend, Lt. Scott Elliott said.
The mother described Horner as a friend of a friend, and said she would not have let him within a "hundred million miles" of her house if she had known he was a registered sex offender.
The Associated Press is not identifying the girl or her mother because police say the child may have been sexually assaulted.
The girl's mother said that Horner was supposed to take her daughter to school Friday but that she got a "strange gut feeling," called the school and was told her daughter never arrived.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert. A woman later found the girl walking by herself on a residential road in Casa Grande, about 20 miles from her home in Maricopa, which is south of Phoenix.
Mother and daughter were reunited at a Casa Grande hospital, where the child was examined Friday afternoon. Detective Jim Rimmer said there were signs she had been sexually assaulted.
Officials had initially described Horner as the mother's boyfriend, but she said they were not involved.
Horner was indicted in 2004 on felony charges of sexual contact with a minor, possession of marijuana and possession of narcotics paraphernalia for an incident involving a 17-year-old girl, according to Pinal County Superior Court records.
The sexual assault and drug possession charges were reduced to misdemeanors, and the paraphernalia charge dismissed. Horner was ordered to register as a sex offender.
Horner, who has a home address in Maurice, La., is registered as a sex offender on that state's online database for the Arizona crime.
Officials said Horner has an ex-wife in Pinal County and has at least one child. They said he had been on his way from California to Louisiana.