- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A missing 12-year-old girl from southeastern Arizona who was the subject of an Amber Alert was found walking along a rural highway in southwestern New Mexico with a 34-year-old man who had been sought in her disappearance, authorities said Tuesday.

A sheriff’s sergeant in New Mexico’s Grant County picked up Savinya Kimball and Lawrence James Halamek after several motorists Tuesday morning reported seeing them walking along State Route 78 several miles into New Mexico, said Graham County Undersheriff Jeff McCormies.

The location is about 40 miles northeast of Safford.

Both the girl and Halamek had last been seen at or near their respective homes in the Safford area Monday morning, when she went to a school bus stop and he a bit earlier when he told his wife he was going to go out to get them some breakfast, McCormies said.

Circumstances of what happened and why remained unclear, McCormies said. “We still have hours left of investigation to do.”

The Amber Alert said Halamek was a “person of interest” in the girl’s disappearance but McCormies later said Arizona authorities were sending their New Mexico counterparts a warrant charging Halamek with custodial interference.

The girl’s father and stepmother hadn’t given permission to Halamek or anyone else to take the girl anywhere, McCormies said.

McCormies said the girl and Halamek aren’t related but that she knew Halamek and his wife, and the sheriff’s official said investigators learned from communications between the girl and Halamek that “she trusts him and for some reason reached out to him.”

After Halamak didn’t return from his breakfast run, his wife received a “strange communication” from him via a Wi-Fi device so she contacted sheriff’s officials, provided a description of his truck and asked for a welfare check, McCormie said.

Then the girl’s stepmother contacted authorities to say she wasn’t at school and that her whereabouts were unknown, he said.

There was no immediate indication what happened to Halamek’s pickup truck, which had been described in the Amber Alert.

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