Registered sex offender arrested for luring MySpace teenager to meeting

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Polk County, Florida, with Bartow highlighted in red.

Virginia police arrested William Joe Mitchell today. Authorities allege the registered sex offender lured 15-year-old Alyssa Frank over the social networking website,

Virginia State Police said Mitchell was arrested outside of Winchester without incident at a gas station named "The Flying J Truck Stop."

Frank was found earlier this week at a Wal-Mart in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, after allegedly being abandoned by a suspected abductor.

Grady Judd, the Polk County Sheriff, said that Frank left her house in Bartow, Florida in the early hours Monday morning to meet Mitchell. The two went to Alabama before returning to DeFuniak Springs on the Florida Panhandle.

Sheriff Judd told CNN that Mitchell said he was 24, not 46.

Frank's father, Rodger, told CNN that he had no idea his daughter was communicating with Mitchell over the internet and he urged all parents to talk to their children about their online activity. "We have to watch [our children] harder. We don't know everything," he said. Sheriff Judd warned others who might be trying to take advantage of children, "We'll hunt you down like the felon and criminal you are. You keep your hands off our children."

Authorities say Mitchell has had 14 other arrests, ranging from burglary to lewd and lascivious conduct.