MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (WMC) - A man identified as a volunteer firefighter is facing charges after a 14-year-old girl said he stalked and impregnated her.
According to a news release from Mississippi County Sheriff's Office, Candelario Mireles Jr., 48, of Wilson, was arrested for fourth-degree sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor on March 21.
Investigators received information in February about a man referred to as "Candy Man" who may have impregnated a teenage girl. He was reportedly a volunteer firefighter in Luxora.
"I was surprised when I heard it," said friend Connie Depriest. "It really surprised me. All I ever knew about him is he's just a nice guy. He wasn't no bad person."
When confronted with the accusations, Mireles told investigators he had not had "any kind of relationship with an underage girl." He said an ex-girlfriend was possibly spreading rumors about him.
The 14-year-old girl said Mireles previously bought her gifts, including an engagement ring and a $20 bill. She said the two had a sexual relationship in 2016. She also said Mireles helped her run away from home.
Once she broke it off with Mireles, she said he stalked her and tried to contact her on social media.
"He did kidnap her. He did have sexual contact," the teen's grandmother said. "He was there with the gate open and I hollered, he took off running behind her, put her in the truck and took off."
The woman said the following day her granddaughter was walking on the railroad tracks alone.
Mireles, according to the sheriff's office, turned himself in on March 21 on two active warrants. He was advised of his rights and agreed to speak with investigators, during which he denied the sexual relationship and any other wrongdoings.
Mireles said he met the girl due to some of her family being part of the fire department. He also said he was at the girl's home many times, but it was to "hang out" with her relatives.
The grandmother said her granddaughter met Mireles while he helped her grandson build chicken coops. The fire station is nearby and she said he would try to isolate the teenager by sitting in a swing with her and using her mother's death to get close.
Mireles denied the girl was with him when she ran away, and he said he did not help her run away from home.
Online records indicated Mireles has bonded out of Mississippi County Jail.
According to Luxora Fire Chief Antonio White, Mireles remains a volunteer fireman.