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Colorado Authorities Arrest N.C. Man Wanted For Abducting 12-Year-Old

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Phillip Daniel Denkler
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Editor's Note: The identity of the 12-year-old girl in this story has been removed to protect her privacy.

A man suspected of taking a 12-year-old girl from her home last Friday has been arrested, Rocky Mount authorities said Wednesday afternoon.

Phillip Denkler, 27, at about 3 p.m. Wednesday in Sterling, Colo., by a Colorado state trooper, after authorities said he drove off without paying for some gasoline. While he did not try to run, authorities said he did not give his real name.

Denkler now faces federal kidnapping charges and will be arraigned in Colorado before being brought back to North Carolina.

Police in Des Moines, Iowa, found the missing girl Tuesday night at a local bus station. The FBI was already tracking down leads in the area when the girl called her grandfather, who then contacted authorities. The FBI said the girl and Denkler drove through Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio before he dropped her off at the bus station.

"I'm just glad the little girl is OK," said Rosie Davis, who lives next door to Denkler's mother.

Davis said the news of a nationwide search came as a surprise to her. She had no idea Denkler had previously served time for taking indecent liberties with a minor.

"He was a real nice young man, real respectful," she said.

Denkler was released from prison in 2004, but had recently served time in jail for failing to register as a sex offender.

The girl was returned to Rocky Mount Wednesday afternoon, where she was reunited with her family. During a news conference later in the afternoon, Dorothy Collie, the girl's grandmother and legal guardian, thanked everyone for their efforts in helping to find her granddaughter.

"I just want to thank you for all your prayers," Collie said. "We just need a little time to privately reunite with (her)."

The girl's grandparents said they did not know Phillip Denkler or how the two met. Collie did say that she believed Denkler was calling the girl on the phone before they left. Investigators are still trying to figure out how the two met.


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