Suspect in Kidnapping, Sexual Assault of 6-Year-Old Arizona Girl Arrested

A registered sex offender who had been sought since he reportedly abducted a 6-year-old girl Friday morning was arrested Saturday, authorities with the Pinal County sheriff's office said.

George Richard Horner, 26, was located at about 10:30 a.m. near the town of Coolidge by an investigator who had been searching for him, sheriff's spokesman Mike Minter said.

The girl was taken from her mother's home in Maricopa but later found walking down a rural road in the town of Casa Grande, about 20 miles away, officials said. Sheriff Christopher Vasquez said there was evidence that she had been sexually molested.

Maricopa, Casa Grande and Coolidge are towns located about 30 miles south and southeast of Phoenix.

Horner was found in the Nissan Pathfinder SUV deputies had been seeking since the incident and was taken into custody without incident, Minter said. He was being questioned by detectives Saturday afternoon.

Minter said more details of the arrest would be released later Saturday.

Officials had issued an Amber Alert for the girl. The Associated Press is no longer identifying her or her mother because she is believed to be a sexual assault victim.

Horner had been staying at the home after being introduced to the girl's mother by a mutual friend, Lt. Scott Elliott said Friday.

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 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.

Mother and daughter were reunited at a Casa Grande hospital, where the child was examined Friday afternoon.

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.