MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade police announced the arrest of a man in connection with the kidnapping, attack and shooting of a 12-year-old boy over the weekend.
He was identified as 43-year-old Aliex Santiesteban on Tuesday.
Santiesteban is charged with fatal weapon / serious injury sexual violence, abducts a child under the age of 13 and attempts murder.
Aliex Santiesteban. (Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation)
The boy was sexually assaulted and shot. He was temporarily blinded after a bullet struck him in the jaw and went out through the other side of his head, authorities said Monday.
“As a father of a 12-year-old, this is extremely troubling and deeply affecting your soul,” said Alfredo Ramirez, Miami-Dade police director.
Tuesday evening a new twist in the investigation against Santiesteban.
About an hour after the child was shot and allegedly raped, Santiesteban appeared in Miami Beach, where he called officials to report that he had been jumped and stabbed in the hand by three men.
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The victim is still in great pain as she continues to recover at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Authorities say he is likely to have a long recovery ahead of him.
The boy’s life was likely saved by a Good Samaritan whom the police called a hero, and doctors say he would be dead if the bullet shot a millimeter in either direction.
“The boy says he can’t see anything at this point. He had lost his sight and was trying to use his touch to find his way around for help, ”said Det. Alvaro Zabaleta of the Miami-Dade Police Department
A man who says he’ll just get past Johnny says he found the boy wandering around alone crying early Saturday morning. It was just blocks from the Foodland Market on Northwest 37th Avenue and 47th Street in Miami-Dade Counties. Johnny can be seen on a video accompanying the boy to the market for help.
“He was conscious, he fell on the sidewalk and said he was shot. That’s all I know, “said Johnny. “He yelled, ‘Help someone, please help me.’ So I [brought] him to the store where they could call the police. “
Police said Santiesteban was driving a black four-door sedan.
According to investigators, the child was walking through the Brownsville neighborhood in northwest Miami-Dade County around 3 a.m. on Saturday when he was kidnapped by Santiesteban, who grabbed him and forced him into the car.
Police say the boy snuck out of his house Friday night to go to a friend who is more than two miles away. He even put pillows on his bed to trick his parents into believing he was still there.
The brutal attack occurred on his long way home.
The victim told investigators that he tried to get out of the car but the attacker activated child safety locks.
According to Santiesteban’s arrest report, he pulled his car onto a swale on Northwest 45th Street and 31st Avenue, forced the victim into the back seat, and raped him. Police said a brief fight ensued and Santiesteban shot the boy dead.
The victim told police he heard a loud bang and was pushed out of the car. He was shot in the face, temporarily blinded, and used his touch to get around.
“We definitely have DNA evidence that is convincing, as well as physical evidence that we know the issue was because of the good old-fashioned policing in the area,” said Brian Rafky, Miami-Dade Police Major.
The surveillance video from the Foodland Market shows witnesses who come to the aid of the boy and offer him water.
The police and paramedics arrived within a few minutes. An officer helped the child onto a stretcher before taking the child to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where the child was in critical condition.
The crime shocked the neighbors.
“When they told me it was a little boy, it was terrible,” said Celine Mejia. “That’s sick. Whoever did it has to report it himself because that’s not the right thing to do. He’s a child.”
Police said Santiesteban denied the allegations against him. However, during a press conference on Tuesday, police confirmed that forensic evidence, including DNA, led to the arrest. They said a gun was also found in Santiesteban’s car when he was taken into custody.
Prior to his arrest, the police appealed to anyone with surveillance video or ring cameras in the area to contact them.
“If this person is so bold, God knows what else he wants to do,” said Zabaleta. “The longer this person is out there, the longer our children are not safe in this area.”
Police said the investigation was still ongoing to determine whether Santiesteban had attacked other victims in the past.
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