The ex-girlfriend of a Florida man accused of raping and shooting a 12-year-old boy says she was present when authorities arrested the suspect but initially had no idea why he was detained.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Miami-Dade police said the incident took place between 2 a.m. and 3:30 am Saturday in northwestern Miami. The suspect was described as a tall Hispanic man with long, curly hair. He appeared to be in his 30s or 40s, police said, and was driving a black 4-door sedan.
“The subject forced the victim inside the vehicle and drove him to the area of NW 45 Street & NW 31st Avenue, where he sexually assaulted and shot the minor. The victim was then forced out of the vehicle and the subject fled,” police said.
News 10 reports that a witness named Johnny said he heard the boy screaming. The witness helped the boy walk to the Foodland Market at Northwest 47th Street and 37th Avenue, where they contacted 911.
“I bring him to the store so they can call the police for him,” Johnny said. “He was conscious, then he fell on the sidewalk and said he had been shot.”
Security footage from a local gas station captured the moment the child collapsed. First responders rushed him to the Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where he remains in critical condition.
Authorities arrested 43-year-old Alex Santiesteban at his apartment at the Island Living complex in Miami. He’s been charged with sexual battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and attempted murder. Authorities said police work, community tips, and forensics evidence led them to the suspect.
According to police, the boy snuck out of his house on Saturday to meet a friend, ABC 6 reports. As the boy was walking close to Northwest 43rd Terrace and 30th Avenue, Santiesteban allegedly pulled up in a black sedan and forced the victim into the car.
Police said Santiesteban then drove to Northwest 45th Street and 31st Avenue and pulled over, where he sexually assaulted the victim in the back seat of the car.
Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said that the suspect activated the child locks so that the victim couldn’t get out of the car. The boy eventually fought the man off of him, which resulted in Santiesteban shooting him in the face.
The victim couldn’t see after he escaped the car but yelled for help until Johnny led him to the store.
Santiesteban’s now-former girlfriend, Yordana Aguilar, told NBC 6 that the arrest came as a “total shock,” although she admitted that she’s seen the violent, aggressive, and emotionally unstable side of the suspect. At one point, she filed a restraining order against him but later dropped it after Santiesteban convinced her he would change.
Aguilar added that she felt uncomfortable bringing her young child around Santiesteban.
Meanwhile, CBS Miami reports that during the attack, Santiesteban accidentally shot himself in the hand. Sources told the outlet that Santiesteban put one of his hands around the victim’s mouth and while using his other hand, shot the boy in the jaw. The bullet went through the boy’s jaw and hit the suspect’s hand.
At around 4 a.m. on the morning in question, Santiesteban reportedly contacted Miami Beach police and told them he was a victim of an armed robbery, pointing out his injured hand. Authorities said they are currently investigating the claim but Santiesteban failed to provide a description of the alleged robbers.
On Tuesday, authorities gathered enough evidence to arrest Santiesteban. Sources reportedly said that authorities found the suspect’s blood on the boy and the boy’s DNA inside Santiesteban’s car.
Santiesteban initially denied any involvement. He later admitted that the boy had been in his car but claimed the victim attempted to carjack him.
Authorities said more victims are a possibility. Anyone with information on the suspect should contact Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
Santiesteban remains behind bars at the Miami-Dade jail. Miami-Dade Police referred to the suspect as the “face of evil.”
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[Feature Photo: Alex Santiesteban/Police Handout]