Rape suspect caught in Marion County

Rape suspect caught in Marion County

April 20th, 2012 by Staff Report in News

Joshua Luke Mitchell

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

A known sex offender suspected of being involved in the rape of a 4-year-old girl has been arrested, Marion County officials said.

Joshua Luke Mitchell, 34, was spotted behind Riverside Catfish House on Highway 41 in Marion County, said Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said.

The person who saw Mitchell called his neighbor Marion County Detective Matt Blansett, who was off-duty and lives in the area, Burnett said. When officers arrived around 6:30 p.m. CDT, Mitchell ran and had to be restrained to be arrested, the sheriff said.

"He didn't give up easy," he said.

Mitchell was taken to Marion County Jail, where he will be charged with the rape of a child, Burnett said. It's unclear whether more charges will be filed, he said.

Mitchell is registered on sex offender lists in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas. The Texas registry lists Mitchell as "high risk."

The incident occurred Sunday in the Haletown area, Marion County Detective Gene Hargis has said, and Mitchell is an acquaintance of the victim's family.

Although Mitchell had been living in Marion County for about two months, he had not registered as a sex offender, Hargis said.

The Alabama sex offender registry, updated on Jan. 27, lists a Jan. 15, 1999, conviction for Mitchell on charges of indecent liberties with a 15-year-old girl.