The Latest: Alabama man sought in missing Florida girl case

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on 4-year-old Florida girl who authorities say was taken from her home by a family friend (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

A man sought following the disappearance of a girl from her home in Florida was once arrested near his home in southeast Alabama.

The Polk County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office says 31-year-old West Wild Hogs of Seale, Alabama, was originally known as Matthew Clark Pybus. He legally changed his name to Hogs.

Court records in Russell County, Alabama, show the man went by Pybus when he was arrested in December 2007 on a charge of disorderly conduct following a fight or threatening behavior that occurred a few days earlier. He lived in Phenix City at the time.

Records show the charge was dismissed the next month at the request of prosecutors.

Authorities in several states are searching for 4-year-old Rebecca Lewis, who a central Florida sheriff says was taken from her home by the man. Authorities describe Hogs as a longtime friend of the girl’s family.


10:50 a.m.

Authorities in several states are searching for a 4-year-old central Florida girl who a sheriff says was taken from her home by a longtime friend of her family.

Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, said at a news conference Monday that a 31-year-old man who legally changed his name to West Wild Hogs took Rebecca Lewis on Saturday morning.

“Here’s a message for West Wild Hogs: don’t you hurt that baby,” Judd said. “You keep her safe.”

Earlier, Judd pleaded with the public to help search for the girl. The sheriff says he’s “not above a bunch of good ol’ boys grabbing that 4-year-old girl.”

Judd says Hogs is a friend of Rebecca’s family but said he’d been asked to leave the family’s home over two years ago after pulling a gun on them.

Hogs and the girl were spotted at a gas station in Georgia on Saturday, he said, adding a park ranger reported seeing them in Tennessee on Sunday night.

An Amber Alert was issued.


8:15 a.m.

Investigators from Florida to Tennessee are now searching for a 4-year-old girl they say was taken from her home in central Florida by a longtime family friend.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it received a “credible report” of a sighting of Rebecca Lewis and 31-year-old West Hogs on Sunday night.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says a park ranger in Campbell County, Tennessee, reported seeing a man and child matching the description of Hogs and Rebecca on Sunday night.

The pair was spotted at a gas station in Forsyth, Georgia, on Saturday evening in a car with a stolen Alabama license plate.

Authorities say Hogs took Rebecca from her home Saturday morning. A 16-year-old sister says she saw Rebecca sleeping about 9 a.m. but when she woke up again 45 minutes later, she was gone.