MARICOPA – A 6-year-old girl was abducted Friday by a registered sex offender who was staying with her family and appears to have been sexually assaulted before being found walking alone about 20 miles away, authorities said.
Authorities were searching for the suspected kidnapper, 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.
Officials had initially identified Horner as the mother’s live-in boyfriend, but Lt. Scott Elliott later said Horner had only been staying at the home after being introduced to the mother by a mutual friend. The Associated Press initially identified the girl but is no longer doing so because she is believed to have been sexually assaulted.
Horner was supposed to take the girl to school Friday. But the mother called police after her call to her house from work went unanswered and after being told the girl wasn’t at school.
A neighbor told authorities that the man and the girl left the house together, sheriff’s officials said.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert and a woman later found the girl walking by herself on a residential road in Casa Grande, about 20 miles from her home.
The woman called the girl’s mother after getting a number from the child, said Detective Jim Rimmer.
The girl was reunited with her mother at a Casa Grande hospital, where the child was examined Friday afternoon.
Rimmer said there were signs that the girl had been sexually assaulted.
Sheriff Christopher Vasquez said he didn’t know if the mother was aware that Horner was a registered sex offender.
According to Louisiana’s online sex offender registry, Horner was convicted of sexual conduct with a minor in Pinal County in 2004. He listed an address in Maurice, La. Vasquez said Horner was also registered as a sex offender with his office.
Officials said the suspect has an ex-wife in Pinal County and has at least one child. They said Horner was on his way from California to Louisiana and that he was stopping in between.