May 3, 2016 / 7:04 PM / 3 years ago

Suspect arrested in death of girl on New Mexico Navajo reservation: police

(Reuters) - A New Mexico man was arrested on Tuesday over the death of an 11-year-old girl kidnapped from the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, an FBI spokesman and the Navajo Nation said.

Tom Begaye, 27, will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Briones in Farmington on Wednesday, two days after Ashlynne Mike and her 9-year-old brother were abducted, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman Frank Fisher and a statement released by the Navajo Nation.

The children were kidnapped after school near the community of San Juan, New Mexico by a man driving a van who offered them a ride, authorities said.

The boy, Ian Mike, was found walking along a highway around 7:15 p.m. and taken to the police department in Shiprock, the largest town on the Navajo Nation. He reported the man had taken his sister, Fisher and the Navajo Nation said.

The boy told the police the driver took them toward the Shiprock pinnacle - a rock hill that is a landmark on the Navajo Nation - hit a dead end and released the boy, telling him to go home, the Navajo Nation said.

The girl’s body was discovered on Tuesday morning, less than 8 miles (13 km) south of the landmark, Fisher said.

Dozens of law enforcement officers took part in the search for the girl, Fisher said.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix and Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Frances Kerry and Clarence Fernandez

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