VAN BUREN, Ark. (KFSM) -- A level 3 sex offender from Sebastian County has been developed as a person of interest in the disappearance of a Van Buren girl.
Police arrested 36-year-old Lloyd Jones Thursday night. He is a suspect in the disappearance of 16-year-old Angela Allen. Jones is being held in police custody on an aggravated assault charge, according to police.
A joint news conference was held by the Van Buren Police Department, Crawford County Sheriff's Office, and Sebastian County Sheriff's Office Friday afternoon.
Allen has been missing since Feb. 10. Police say she left her grandmother's house to go for a walk around 7:30 p.m. that night and never returned.
Investigators believe Allen and Jones met on a social media site and arranged a meeting.
"They conversed back and forth," said Chief Kenneth Bell with the Van Buren Police Department. "He groomed her. They built a relationship. He picked her up."
The two had been communicating via text messages for several days, says Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown.
Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck says information obtained from Jones has led them to begin searching the river and bottoms north of Lavaca. Jones is believed to live in that area.
Investigators believe Jones picked up the teenager that evening in his white pick-up truck. A family friend who lives by the teenager says she's seen the vehicle before.
Investigators are asking anyone who may have seen the two together to call the Van Buren Police Department at (479) 474-1234.
Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck says Jones was previously convicted of rape in Sebastian County.
Several agencies, including Arkansas State Police, the Fort Smith Police Cyber Crimes Unit, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are also helping with the investigation.
(Copyright 2012 KFSM)