HOLLY HILL, Fla. – A teen was arrested Sunday after a vehicle stolen last week in Holly Hill with a toddler inside was found, according to the Holly Hill Police Department.
Police said a red 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan with a small child inside was stolen Thursday near a home Clifton Avenue and 3rd Street. The toddler was let out of the car a short time later and was found by a good Samaritan a half-mile away from the home, police siad.
The department said the vehicle was spotted Sunday night in Daytona Beach. After attempts to stop the reckless driver, Daytona Beach police said the vehicle was found located in the Halifax Harbor Marina parking lot.
Holly Hill police said a 16-year-old boy was arrested but did not say whether he was the one who stole the vehicle outside the home.
“The 16-year-old has not been charged with kidnapping and child neglect at this time as our investigation continues. The vehicle is being processed by crime scene technicians with the Volusia Sheriff’s Office,” police said in a release.
Holly Hill police Chief Jeff Miller added that the teen’s picture and features were “consistent with the video footage” obtained.
“Right now, he’s just a person of interest and we’re still conducting an investigation right now. There were some things found in the vehicle that hopefully will be fruitful,” Miller said. “We do believe there are people out there that recognize that photo and have information about this.”
The good Samaritan called 911 on Thursday when he found the toddler alone. Miller said the toddler had been discovered “in an extremely busy light industrial area that has mechanical shops” and had been there for about 30 minutes.
Darrell Everman said he found the toddler sitting behind a car on State Street while he was walking to his storage unit. He said he didn’t see any parents around so thought it would be good to check on the toddler.
“It was an odd situation, so I decided to do something about it,” Everman told News 6. “I knew it was important to keep him calm, so I acted like nothing really major was going on and tried to find somebody who was responsible for him and figured out the police needed to be involved.”
Body cam video released by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, which assisted Holly Hill Police Department, shows a deputy responding to the call and approaching the toddler.
“What’s up, buddy? You OK?” he said in the video. “Wanna come with me, buddy? Wanna go see your mommy?”
The deputy then picks up the toddler, who was not harmed, and consoles him as they wait for a car seat before taking him home. The toddler was then reunited with family members.
Holly Hill police said the 16-year-old faces a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sergeant Tom Bentley at 386-248- 9478 or Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-888-277-TIPS.
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