(KMOV.com) - A 29-year-old man who is already a convicted sex offender was arrested Friday in Maryland Heights after he was seen with a 14-year-old who was reported missing last week.
Jerry Pockington is charged with statutory rape and statutory sodomy. Police say the girl and the suspect left her home in Litchfield, Il. Weds - on foot. Police said they walked and hitchhiked 66 miles - reaching Maryland Heights by Thursday evening.
Officers arrested Pockington on Friday morning, after a witness saw them get out of a van in a parking lot along Creve Coeur Mill Road. Authorities told News 4 the suspect and girl got into the unlocked van Thursday and spent the night. Police say the girl was sexually abused in the van.
Along the way, police said strangers gave the two rides and helped them get food, likely not knowing the man was a convicted sex offender.
Investigators said Pockington told strangers the girl was his biological daughter. She is not.
"He had made mention to our investigators that he had planned on taking this young girl to New York, keep her for four years, and marry her when she turns eighteen," said Maryland Heights Police Detective Rich White.
White said the suspect lived in the girl's home for several years. Another child also lived in the home. The Maryland Heights Police Department notified Litchfield Police about opening an investigation there.