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Previous story Man accused of raping and shooting 12-year-old in the face Next story
Published on May 29, 2021 3:16 AM

by Oregon Herald Staff
Boy narrowly avoids death; Aliex Santiesteban in custody
43-year-old Aliex Santiesteban
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida – The man accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and shooting a 12-year-old boy faced a judge Tuesday.

"This individual poses a great danger to children in our community," said Judge Judith K. Rubenstein.

The man was identified Tuesday as 43-year-old Aliex Santiesteban.

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

The boy was sexually assaulted and shot over the weekend, officials said. The boy was temporarily blinded when a bullet struck him in the jaw and went out through the other side of his head, authorities said Monday.

He's still in a lot of pain as he continues to recover at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The boy's life was likely saved by a Good Samaritan, and doctors say that if the bullet went a millimeter in either direction, he'd be dead.

"The young boy says he couldn't see at the time. He had lost his sight and he was using his touch trying to find his way around to seek help," said Det. Alvaro Zabaleta of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

A man who says he only goes by Johnny says he found the young boy wandering alone and crying early Saturday morning, blocks away from the Foodland Market on Northwest 37th Avenue and 47th Street in Miami-Dade County. Johnny can be seen on video escorting the boy to the market to get help.

"He was conscious, he fell on the sidewalk and said he had been shot. That was all I know," Johnny said. "He was screaming, "Help someone, help me, please.' 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 around the Brownsville neighborhood of Northwest Miami-Dade County at about 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Saturday when he was abducted by Santiesteban, who forced him into the car.

Police say the boy snuck out of his home Friday night to walk to a friend's place, which is more than two miles away. He even placed pillows atop his bed to trick his parents into thinking he was still there.

The brutal attack happened during his long walk back home.

The victim told investigators he was pulled into the attacker's car. He tried to get out but the attacker had the child locks engaged, he told police.

The car pulled onto a swale at Northwest 45th Street and 31st Avenue where investigators believe the sexual assault happened. At some point, the child 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.

Surveillance video from Foodland Market shows witnesses coming to the boy's aid and offering him water.

Within minutes, police and paramedics arrived, with one officer helping the child onto a gurney before taking him to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

The crime has left neighbors in shock.

"When they told me it was a little boy, that's awful," said Celine Mejia. "That's sick. So whoever did it needs to turn themselves in because that's not right? He's a child."

Ahead of Santiesteban's arrest, police were appealing for anyone with surveillance video or Ring camera footage in the area to contact them.

"If this individual is so brazen to do this, God knows what else he's willing to do," Zabaleta said. "The longer this individual is out there, then the longer that our children in that area are not safe."


Ex-Girlfriend Speaks After Man Arrested in Abduction, Sex Assault and Shooting of Miami-Dade Boy


Story by: NBC staff

Officers arrested a Miami-Dade man early Tuesday morning after he allegedly abducted, sexually assaulted and shot a 12-year-old boy this past weekend.

Police took 43-year-old Aliex Santiesteban into custody and charged him with several counts, including sexual battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and attempted murder. He was booked into the Miami-Dade jail early Tuesday morning and was being held without bond, records showed.

Police say DNA evidence and "good old-fashioned police work" led them to Santiesteban. "This is a reminder to parents and children to be vigilant because, in this world, there are evil people who will not hesitate to harm children," MDPD Director Freddy Ramirez said at a news conference Tuesday.

Ramirez, the father of a 12-year-old himself, appeared emotional at times during the news conference.

"This is extremely disturbing and it hits you at the soul. No child or family should ever suffer the horrors that they went through," he said. "This child suffered physical and emotional trauma that will take years to overcome."

Santiesteban's ex-girlfriend, Yordana Aguilar, spoke with NBC 6 exclusively and said she was with him the night of the arrest. Aguilar said he had been acting "nervous" and added he was emotionally unstable and had aggressive and violent tendencies.

Exclusive video obtained by NBC 6 showed officers taking a man later identified as Santiesteban into custody and a large Miami-Dade police presence Monday night in Overtown.

Investigators say the incident happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday as the boy was walking in the area of Northwest 43rd Terrace and 30th Avenue while returning home after going to meet with friends when he was approached by a man in a black, 4-door sedan, Miami-Dade Police officials said.

The man forced the boy inside the vehicle and drove him to an empty lot in the area of Northwest 45th Street and 31st Avenue, where he was sexually assaulted in the back seat of the car.

At a news conference Monday, Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said the child locks had been activated on the car, which prevented the boy from getting out. Zabaleta said the boy eventually fought the man off, then the man shot him in the face and pushed him out of the car.

The boy couldn't see but was found wandering by a Good Samaritan on a bicycle, who led him to a nearby business where they called 911.

"He took this victim to a nearby convenience store and summoned assistance, which ultimately saved his life," Major Brian Rafky of the MDPD Special Victims Bureau said Tuesday, adding the suspect has a criminal history.

Surveillance footage from the business showed the boy covered in blood and collapsing to the ground before police officers arrived.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene and transported the boy to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition.

Rafky said the victim remains in the hospital and has a "long road" in his recovery. He added the investigation will continue to see if there are any additional victims.

"This is someone we want people to look at and see if there are any other victims out there," he said.

Anyone who may have information on other similar cases is asked to call Miami-Dade Police.

"Us as parents and leaders in this community, we need to let people know of the dangers that exist out there," Rafky said.

Miami Beach Police say they are investigating an alleged robbery that took place shortly after the abduction where Santiesteban claimed he was the victim. Police say he was unable to describe the suspected robber and was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital to be treated for injuries.


Mother of Man Arrested in Abduction, Sex Assault and Shooting of Miami-Dade Boy Speaks


Story by: NBC staff

Maira Santiesteban, the mother of the man accused of abducting, sexually assaulting and shooting a 12-year-old boy in Miami, still cannot believe the alleged crimes her son committed.

"I still don't believe it," said Santiesteban. "It happened, but as his mother, I still don't believe it." In an interview from Cuba, Santiesteban was fighting tears, trying to find an explanation for the events that transpired and asked for forgiveness from the young boy's family.

"As a mother, as a grandmother, I feel deeply sorry for what the young boy is going through because it didn't need to happen."

Officers arrested 43-year-old Aliex Santiesteban in the early morning on March 27th and charged him with several counts, including sexual battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and attempted murder. He was booked into the Miami-Dade jail and was being held without bond, records showed.

Police say DNA evidence and "good old-fashioned police work" led them to Santiesteban.

In the interview, Santiesteban told NBC 6 she spoke with her son the day he was arrested and she did not notice anything strange.

"Something big must have happened to him because... I still don't understand," she said. "I don't understand."

Miami-Dade Police continue to ask the community to take a close look at the suspect and urge anyone to contact them if they have been victimized by Aliex Santiesteban.