updated 1/27/2007 7:07:24 PM ET 2007-01-28T00:07:24

A registered sex offender suspected of abducting a 6-year-old girl was arrested Saturday in a nearby town, sheriff’s deputies said.

An investigator found George Richard Horner, 26, in a vehicle near the town of Coolidge, sheriff’s spokesman Mike Minter said.

Horner was taken into custody without incident and was being questioned by detectives, Minter said.

The girl was reported missing from her mother’s home in Maricopa and found about three hours later 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 about 30 miles south and southeast of Phoenix.

The Associated Press is not identifying the girl or her mother because she is believed to be a sexual assault victim.

Horner had been staying at the girl’s home since being introduced to her 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 mother said Horner was supposed to take her daughter to school Friday, but she got a “strange gut feeling,” called the school and was told her daughter never arrived.

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