Arrest made in abduction, sexual assault, shooting of 12-year-old Miami-area boy

Published: March 30, 2021 6:01 AM EDT
Updated: March 30, 2021 11:59 AM EDT
Aliex Santiesteban. Credit: Miami-Dade Police Department

An arrest has been made in the case involving a 12-year-old boy who was abducted, sexually assaulted and then shot in the Brownsville area of Miami.

A source familiar with the investigation told CBS4’s Jim DeFede that a 43-year-old male was taken into custody at around 6:30 p.m. Police confirmed that the man’s name is Aliex Santiesteban.

The source said police got a DNA match from the victim.

According to Miami-Dade police, the child was walking near NW 43rd Terrace and NW 30th Avenue between 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Saturday when he was abducted at gunpoint by Santiesteban in a black four-door sedan.

“He said the driver got off, walked up to him and grabbed him and forced him inside the vehicle. Once he was inside the vehicle he tried to get out, but the child locks were activated. He couldn’t open the doors,” said Det. Alvaro Zabaleta with the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Investigators say Santiesteban drove the boy to an area near NW 45th Street and 31st Avenue, where he sexually assaulted the boy before shooting him in the face.

After that, the boy was forced out of the car and Santiesteban drove off.

“The young boy was trying to fight him off during the struggle, the fight, he hears a loud noise. He didn’t even say bang. He said he heard a really loud pop, that’s when the subject opens the door and pushes him out of the car,” Zabaleta said.

Nearby surveillance captured the moment a good Samaritan helped the boy get to a store so they could dial 911.

“I couldn’t sleep at all last night,” said the good Samaritan “Johnny,” who did not want his last name used in this report. “He was screaming, ‘Help! Somebody help me, please, please!’ So I bring him to the store while we call the police. Before he was unconscious, he fell on the sidewalk and he said he had been shot.”

The graphic surveillance video showed the child collapsing to the ground. Emergency crews took him to Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition.

Iqbal Akhtar and his wife Zafreen Jaffery live in the area. They said they were horrified to hear the victim of this latest crime was a child.

“Unfortunately, hearing gunshots, people getting killed, these things are happening way too frequently here where we live,” Akhtar said.

“This neighborhood is particularly stressful for young children, because there are no opportunities. There are no safe spaces to congregate,” Jaffery said.

The two have worked to help start a community garden in the area to give children an activity after school. They hope, if anything, this will bring attention to the Brownsville neighborhood.

“There’s usually some attention after an incident like this happens, and the next day it’s the same thing all over again,” Jaffery said.

“We really would call upon the mayor of the county and the commissioners to be able to help please direct more resources to help prevent further violence like this,” Akhtar said.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho posted on Twitter that he was “sickened to his core” by the attack.

Santiesteban faces charges of sexual assault with a deadly weapon/serious injury, kidnapping a child under 13 and attempted felony murder/causing injury/firearm.