BARTOW, Fla. (AP) – A teenage girl is missing after she sneaked out of her house to rendezvous with a high-risk sex offender she met on Myspace.com, a sheriff said Tuesday.

An Amber Alert was issued for 15-year-old Alyssa Frank.

The suspect, William Joe Mitchell, 46, has a violent past with more than a dozen arrests, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

“He lured her away and now he’s got her, and we’ve got to have her back. Safely,” Judd said. “We are, as I’ve said before, incredibly concerned.”

Judd said the two met on the social networking Web site and began a relationship. She believed Mitchell was 24, Judd told CNN.

“Don’t you dare hurt this young lady. Let her go,” Judd said, speaking to the suspect.

“Take her to a convenience store. A bus station. But let her go.”

Judd said Alyssa sneaked out of her house to meet Mitchell at about 3 a.m. Monday and was reported missing about three hours later.

“We know, from all of the investigation up to this point, that they left together. Alyssa contacted some of her friends and said that she was running away,” Judd said. “When they asked, ‘Well, why are you running away?’ She told them ‘for love.”‘

Judd said Mitchell had 14 prior arrests on charges including burglary, aggravated assault with a weapon, grand larceny, bomb threats, extortion and offense or offer of lewdness and lewd and lascivious behavior. Mitchell is on probation.

Officials urged residents to be on the lookout for Mitchell’s black Chevrolet Lumina. Judd said he believed Mitchell might have taken her back to the Jacksonville area.

Alyssa has hazel eyes and brown hair, and was last seen wearing a “Tinkerbell” shirt and black tennis shoes.

with checkered laces. Mitchell has several tattoos on his arms and fingers.

Alyssa ran away just a day after a new Florida law took effect, making the state’s sex predator penalties some of the toughest in the nation.

The law requires offenders to register e-mail and instant message handles with authorities, information that will be shared with social networking sites like Myspace.com. The state also tripled the maximum sentences to 15 years for soliciting minors for sex and possessing child pornography.

AP-ES-10-02-07 1327EDT


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