Gray County deputies arrest man accused of kidnapping 12-year-old from Ohio

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 4:33 PM CDT

GRAY COUNTY, Texas (KFDA) - Gray County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a suspect near McLean accused of kidnapping a 12-year-old girl from Ohio.

Officials say a 12-year-old girl left her home around 8:30 a.m. Thursday to go for a walk and never returned home. Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department detectives learned the girl was communicating with a man through social media.

Detectives and deputies interviewed family, friends and neighbors of the girl and were able to identify 41-year-old Joseph Gunter from New Mexico as the suspect.

Officials say detectives obtained a description of the suspect’s vehicle and were notified the license plate number was recorded on a camera in Kentucky about 10 hours after she went missing.

Detectives also obtained the cellphone number for the suspect, which was pinged to the phone on I-40 in Texas Saturday afternoon.

Officials say Gray County deputies received information Saturday that a 12-year-old girl had been kidnapped in Ohio. Deputies found the vehicle close to McLean where the suspect was arrested without incident.

Officials say the 12-year-old girl was recovered and unharmed.

Gunter was booked into the Randall County Jail on a federal hold for kidnapping charges.