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Auburn man admits to killing girl

Authorities in Panama City, Fla., say a known child molester from Auburn has confessed to killing a 13-year-old girl and concealing her body in a Florida hotel room.

Panama City police Capt. Robert Colbert said Mathew Caylor, a registered sex offender wanted in Georgia, admitted to killing the teen in his hotel room before he checked out Tuesday. The victim, Melinda Denise Hinson, was from Kentucky. She had been staying at the Valu-Lodge with her family since November, Colbert said.

Police are awaiting an autopsy to determine how the girl was slain.

Caylor, whose last known address was on Winfield Court in Auburn, had been staying at the hotel since the first of July. He told police he had met the girl in passing at the hotel.

Caylor is being held at the Bay County Jail on charges of murder, sexual battery and failure to register as a sex offender.

Another couple had stayed in the hotel room Wednesday night - unaware the girl's body was there - between the time Caylor checked out and housekeeping workers found the body around noon on Thursday, Colbert said.

"The only thing I can tell you is that ... he had taken steps to conceal both the body and the crime," Colbert said.

Police didn't have to look far for Caylor - he was already in jail for allegedly attacking two girls in neighboring Panama City Beach on Tuesday, Colbert said.

Caylor fled the area but was tracked down and arrested on charges related to the alleged attack, and also for outstanding warrants in Georgia stemming from a stolen car and failure to register as a sex offender, Colbert said.

The previous child molestation conviction stems from a sex crime involving a 14-year-old girl in Georgia, Colbert said. Caylor was first convicted of child molestation in February 2001, according to Georgia's Sexual Offender Registry.

From what police can gather, Caylor was in Auburn as recently as June 25, he said.

Records show Caylor had a local criminal history of violence.

Auburn police Chief Frederick Brown said Caylor was arrested in July 2006 on charges of battery, criminal damage to property and obstruction.

In December last year, Caylor had another run-in with Auburn police when he was involved in "some kind of domestic dispute," Brown said.

Auburn police had no pending warrants for his arrest, Brown added.